For almost two decades, Hebrew Academy has participated in Gesher Chai, a program that twins Israeli educators and students with those in the Diaspora to learn about, and from, one another. Our school has collaborated with a number of educational institutions in BeerSheva (Montreal’s “sister city”) over the years, including Yeshivat and Ulpanat Amit.

Over six years ago, Morah Rivka Benarroch, who teaches Grade 5, began working on joint class projects with Morah Yaffa Gotta, who teaches Kita Vav at Netivei Am. This year, Grade 6’s Morah Sari Attaiech-Rohr got on-board, and the teachers visited Netivei Am during Winter Break, where they taught Kita Vav all about Canada.

“We were greeted with a beautiful Kabbalat Panim that included a welcome sign, Israeli and Canadian flags, and students who had lined up to meet us and were singing to us,” said Morah Rivka. “It was so nice!”

In addition to teaching the kids all about our Canadian weather, money, sports and other fun facts, Morahs Rivka and Sari showed students an engaging presentation and brought puzzles with Canadian maps for them to complete.

“The entire experience was amazing,” said Morah Sari. “What touched me most was the incredibly-warm reception that the school gave us and the students’ excitement around our arrival. Students in all grades relayed to their parents that teachers had come to visit them from Canada, and every day that we were there, parents sent us food for lunch! It really felt like home. I was also so impressed with the school’s vision for ‘living Green’. Students only eat healthy snacks and faculty and students plant vegetables which they then eat together. It’s unbelievable.”

As part of their five-day visit, the teachers also met with Netivei Am’s principal Orly Osheri and fellow educators to exchange ideas and share educational tools. Next year, the Israeli educators will visit Hebrew Academy on their biennial visit to Montreal.

For their next collaborative project, Morah Sari’s class will be working on shared values with the students at Netivei Am, while Morah Rivka hopes her students will exchange emails with their friends in BeerSheva.

“The Canadians will communicate in English and the Israelis will write in Hebrew,” she said. “That way both sides will learn from one another!”

Click here for more pictures.

 – by Aviva Engel, Director of Communicatons

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