Introduction to TALI
In Israel, Jewish public education is divided into separate secular and Orthodox systems. TALI’s mission for over 40 years has been to nurture a positive connection to Jewish heritage and the values conveyed by it within the secular school system. Working side by side with principals and teachers, publishing textbooks, and conducting informal educational activities, TALI provides the vital resources needed for pluralistic education in a Jewish and democratic state. Through professional development and ongoing guidance for teachers, publishing textbooks and study materials and providing classroom and informal educational activities, TALI shapes the Jewish identity of a generation.
TALI is a Hebrew acronym standing for “enhanced Jewish studies”. Established in 1976, TALI has been sponsored since 1987 by the TALI Education Fund (TEF) which is authorized by Israel’s Ministry of Education to provide educational guidance and resources to all TALI schools. The first TALI school opened in 1976 in Jerusalem. Today, TALI is in 315 secular public schools and preschools, reaching 50,000 children, their teachers and families in highly diverse communities. There is a TALI school in upscale Ra’anana as well as in working-class Lod. The TALI Gilo school in Jerusalem serves a very traditional community, while a TALI school north of Haifa is on a secular kibbutz. What unites all TALI schools is the drive of the educational staff and the parents. They choose the TALI curriculum for one simple reason: they want their children to grow up as proud, educated Jews.
Why Israel Needs TALI
Every Jewish child in Israel deserves a Jewish education. But most go without.
Jews in Israel are deeply divided along religious and secular fault-lines – a divide that tears at the fabric of Israeli society. For sixty years, this division has been fostered by Israel’s school system which operates only two educational streams: religious and secular.
Yet most Jewish Israelis define themselves as neither Orthodox nor secular, but as traditional. They identify with Jewish culture and heritage, but feel alienated by a rigid, politicized religious establishment. By sending their children to secular public schools, most Israeli parents have forfeited their children’s right to a Jewish education. TALI brings Jewish learning to the secular Israeli classroom, connecting pupils with their heritage, and educating towards religious pluralism in the Jewish State.