Insights on Israel and Education

Mabat Einecha - A Song for Gilad Schalit

 In Israel Education, we are constantly looking for ways to convey some of the unique experiences of Israeli culture in an effort to make Israel more tangible, personal, real. More often than not, we look "beyond the headlines" to show an Israel that is not all about conflict and tragedy. Sadly, however, upon occasion we find a unique and inspirational teaching moment in the tragedy of the day's headlines. Today is such a day.

Composer Maya Raviv (photo, right: from a 2009 performance with the Schalit family at the Kabalat Shabbat in the tent in Jerusalem) is a neighbor of the Schalit family in Mitzpe Hila in Northern Israel. As an active supporter of the Schalit family in their struggle to free their son, Raviv put her extraordinary talents into a song dedicated to Gilad Schalit.

Why Travel?

You know how every job has its busy times and slow times? After Labor Day, one of Shorashim’s two busiest times of the year begins. Our phones ring off the hook and our necks stiffen as we answer them. We swim through our inboxes racing to answer emails. Our fingers sprint to chat with 18 to 26 year olds across the country (and their parents).

Why the communication overload? Shorashim runs Taglit-Birthright Israel trips. Registration opens for those who have applied during prior rounds on September 8 at 11 a.m. and September 9 for new applicants. We will register more than 1,000 applicants within the first 48 hours if not more, and our small staff will have personal contact with 2/3 of those applicants within the first week.
Anticipation, stress, and excitement permeate an office staff which most of the year works hard, but is also calm and lighthearted. There is no serenity the first three days of registration. The energy is frenetic as we answer questions ranging from safety to eligibility, help technophobes complete their applications, have philosophical discussions on the phone about “Who is a Jew?” and explain what makes Shorashim different: Israelis on the trip for the entire 10 days.