Leadership Development Programs
A core part of TALI’s mission is building meaningful connections with the principals and educators of TALI schools who may not yet have a meaningful connection to Jewish studies. We seek to impact their approach to teaching Judaism and Jewish concepts. This missions require time, in-depth learning and dialogue. To support educators TALI offers three significant leadership programs:
- MA in Jewish Studies
The program, a two-year in-service professional development course, was established sixteen years ago to develop competent and professional educational leadership, conversant with Jewish texts and the language of Jewish education. The program provides practical skills in Jewish education appropriate to the largely non-observant population of TALI schools. Meeting one full day a week, the program is open to TALI teachers, Jewish studies coordinators and principals. Courses are credited towards an M.A. degree in Jewish Education and are taught by the Schechter Institute faculty. To date, 265 TALI teachers and principals have graduated from the program, with approximately 200 completing the M.A. program in Jewish Studies at the Schechter Institute.
- The Halleli program (Invitation to Study of Israeli Judaism)
Halleli is designed especially for principals and other leaders in TALI schools who already have MA degrees and are interested in deepening their Jewish knowledge. The program is built around 25 afternoon sessions during the school year as well as a week’s study in the United States. The trip is an opportunity to see and experience American Jewish communities’ characteristics and differences and strengthen ties between the two countries.
The first cohort opened in 2016 with the participation of 12 principals from Northern Israel.
In 2017 two new cohorts began: the first for principals in Israel’s central and southern regions and the second for TALI coordinators in the North. Nearly 45 educators have participated.
Except for the cost of a plane ticket to the United States, these professional development programs are funded entirely by the TALI Foundation.
- Outstanding Aspiring Educators Program
This year a new experimental program opened in cooperation with Seminar Kibbutzim (Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and the Arts) in Tel Aviv.
The initiative stems from the desire to support students in four year B. Ed. Programs to learn and develop professionally in Jewish education. We locate outstanding students in their final undergraduate year and offer them an additional day of study focusing on Jewish and Israeli identity issues. Students have a year-long internship in TALI schools that includes one day a week of mentoring and supervision. TALI supplements this with rich Jewish content.
In exchange for this effort students receive a living stipend, a free professional development day and certificates as Jewish-Israeli cultural studies experts. If the experimental program with Kibbutzim College is fruitful, we will strive to replicate it in other teachers’ colleges.
TALI School Rabbis and Spiritual Counselors
The TALI School Rabbis Program adds a critical dimension of spiritual education to the TALI school network by providing non-observant children, teachers, and parents with positive educational and spiritual experiences with rabbis. The rabbis represent a new type of role model for the pupils and their parents – one of a tolerant and open-minded spiritual educator who relates to them in a language and style that is at once inclusive and conducive to their modes of learning. Some schools have a school rabbi assigned to them, and others choose from a menu of services that a school rabbi can provide.
A welcome addition to TALI’s online presence is the Spiritual Education Laboratory, a wealth of resources including texts, spiritual education terminology, music, film and links to related sites.
TALI develops educational resources to provide practical and engaging models for their teachers for the integration of the TALI syllabus into their classrooms. The materials teach Jewish sources and expose children to Jewish tradition in a way that inculcates democratic values and religious tolerance, as well as respect for other cultures. Textbooks are used in each grade to teach the weekly Torah portion, holidays, and other values-based topics.
In 2012, TALI responded to the Ministry of Education’s nationwide Tarbut Yehudit Yisraelit (Israeli-Jewish culture) initiative and published five books on Judaism and Zionism for grades 6-8. Altogether, TALI has sold close to 60,000 books to more than 200 schools nationwide. In 2016, TALI engaged in the publication of four new study books for grades 3-6. All those materials are available in digital format to TALI and non-TALI schools alike.
All TALI textbooks are now available in digital format to TALI and non-TALI schools, greatly increasing accessibility of TALI materials to a world-wide market. Consequently, textbook usage has increased. As part of this initiative, a number of worksheets for family use at home have been developed for 2nd-3rd grades and 4th-6th grades. Our Parashat Hashavuah collection of on-line books receive 25,000 visits a month.
A welcome addition to TALI’s online presence is the Spiritual Education Laboratory, a wealth of online resources including texts, spiritual education terminology, music, film and links to related sites.
Dialogue and Identity
The TALI School Network in Israel has developed, together with the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations, a program for Jewish-Arab encounter which began 10 years ago with a group of TALI schools in Israel’s north and a network of Christian-Arab schools. The model trains Jewish and Arab teachers to implement a curriculum stressing “three religions in the Holy Land,” and to jointly facilitate a series of encounters in which their pupils meet and present their religions and culture to each other. The TALI Education Fund initiated the project as part of its goal of strengthening the Jewish knowledge and identity of TALI pupils in the secular public school system. The nurturing of a tolerant Jewish identity within the environment of a sectarian and generally intolerant Middle East, is perhaps the greatest challenge that we face as educators. In 2016, 22 schools are enrolled in the program, mainly in the north and in Petach Tikvah, Shoham and Ramle.
10th Grade New Identity Program
Less than 3% of students in Israeli secular public high schools are currently engaged in serious Jewish studies. The TALI Education Fund is developing a curriculum for 10th graders, aimed at exciting them about Jewish identity and ideas, and motivating some of them to take a five-unit concentration in Jewish Thought in the 11th and 12th grades. During 10th grade, teens will spend 2-hours a week exploring questions regarding the place of Judaism in modern Israeli society, and the ways in which these issues shape Israeli identity. The curriculum will be complemented by a 3-day retreat dedicated to the place of Jewish Israeli Identity in the complicated and charged Israeli reality. For each participant, the retreat will be the peak experience in a year-long curriculum for 10th graders. Both the new curriculum and the program of 3-day retreats will be implemented by educators trained by the TALI Education Fund.
TALI’s Leket project teaches the Jewish value of Tzedaka by introducing sources of Mitzvot of Peah and Leket (gleaning and and leaving a corner of the fields for the poor) and discussing issues of hunger and poverty today. The highlight for the families is picking unharvested crops which are then distributed by Leket to needy families. A TALI booklet “Picking and Helping” was distributed to teachers as an aide in introducing the project. The project has expanded greatly to include 24 TALI schools, reaching more than 1,600 students, their parents and teachers.