In celebration of Israel's 70th birthday, and with the help of generous donors, the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is supporting four new innovative Israel-related programs that will debut in the community this year.
The Jewish Day School will collaborate with The Jewish Lens, an online education curriculum that will provide their teachers with the materials needed to conduct a year-long elective class. This class, entitled “The Israel Lens,” will be taught by a photographer along with teachers from two different disciplines. The program is designed to enhance students’ understanding of Israel, its meaning and its importance in Jewish life and tradition. The class’s main tool will be photography, which will help engage students with their Jewish identity, values and community, as well as deepen their connection to Israel. The class will culminate with a student-created Israeli photo exhibition reflecting Israel’s values, culture and heritage.
The Jewish Community Center will be enhancing the Partnership2Gether program and the summer program at the JCC. In addition to enabling more teens from Yoav to visit the Lehigh Valley and work at Camp JCC, teens in the Lehigh Valley will be able to go to Yoav for the first time. They will experience home hospitality and a similar experience to the teens who visit the Lehigh Valley, including the ones here this summer. While in Yoav, the teens will implement an English immersion program, coordinate efforts between the two communities and help to establish and enhance Israeli programming back in the Lehigh Valley.
The JDS and JCC will also be teaming up for an early childhood program for Israel education entitled “Food, Culture and Peoplehood.” Students from both schools will engage with these topics, which were chosen specifically to cultivate and enhance their connection to Israel. Students from the JCC and JDS will visit each other during the year for joint programming. These classes will also benefit from the expertise of the shlicha coming to the Lehigh Valley in September who will bring Israeli perspective, knowledge and experience to the classroom.
Last but not least, Congregation Keneseth Israel is bringing “Am Echad, Lev Echad,” which translates to "One People with One Heart," an event led by Israeli singer-songwriter Ritasue Charlestein. “With guitar in hand, a ready smile and a heart filled with love, I will introduce you to my Israel,” Charlestein said of the day’s program. “I will warm your soul and move you to tears. The tales I tell and the songs I sing present a unique glimpse into the lives of those who protect and defend the State of Israel.” The program will be open to the entire Jewish community; young adults from education programs in the Jewish community will be invited to attend.
These programs are made possible by the generosity of Lewis and Roberta Gaines and the many donors whose gifts to the 2018 Annual Campaign were matched dollar for dollar.