As a Jewish day school, we want our students of all faiths to understand and appreciate the rich history and beautiful culture of Israel. Through travel and technology, students, their families, and the community at large are benefiting from the educational and cultural opportunities afforded through the international interaction.
Three years ago, Community Day School hosted 15 Israeli students from Sarasota's Sister City of Tel Mond, preceded by months of interaction through Google Classroom. Last year, Community Day School middle schoolers traveled to Tel Mond as well as visited renowned historical and cultural locations. We are also working toward becoming a “sister school” with a school in Tel Mond, Israel, so that our students and their families can develop a greater understanding of the lives and challenges of Israel and her people.
Last year, the school's seventh and eighth graders participated in the World ORT Kadima Mada Global Collaborative Problem-Solving program, through which they worked asynchronously with students from Israel to solve a real-world sustainability problem.
In Israel, the Hand in Hand schools are working to build a shared society, “one school, one community at a time.” Hand in Hand operates integrated schools and communities in five locations, with Jewish and Arab staff members working together, 1,100 Jewish and Arab students living and learning together, and more than 3,000 total community members. The purpose is to enable Jews and Arabs to break the cycle of negative stereotypes and learn to relate to one another with mutual understanding and respect. We are proud to be a program partner of Hand in Hand, so that our families can benefit from the interfaith model the organization has developed.
Thanks to grants from The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, Community Day School enjoyed the presence of Young Schlichim from the Jewish Agency for Israel. Oded Israely served in the role two years ago; last year, Maor Ben-Arie offered a contemporary Israeli perspective on numerous subject areas, in addition to performing significant community outreach.
Finally, with the support of the Israeli American Council, we have hosted numerous holiday programs for Israeli-Americans at the school. We have been pleased to offer a safe, Jewish space for Israeli Americans to stay connected to their homeland and each other.