Source: eJewish Philanthropy
Ahuva Ron, director of the School Twinning program between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv for the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles for the last eight years, highlights some aspects of this highly effective and impactful model of teen engagement.
"The School Twinning Program started with four twin schools. Currently, we have 41 schools including 20 in Los Angeles, 20 in Tel Aviv, and one in Vilnius, Lithuania. The main goal of the program is to create relationships between the Jewish students and families in Los Angeles and Tel Aviv. There are several core elements of the program that make it impactful and unique: exchange of student delegations and face-to-face meetings in each other’s communities, home hospitality, joint curriculum/projects with the twin school, community involvement, and local and joint teachers’ seminars with all the American and Israeli educators. The schools that take part in this program are Jewish day and afternoon schools from all denominations. The delegation exchanges are in either sixth, eighth, or tenth grade….
…the School Twinning program is a way of engaging pre-teens and teens, together with their families... While unique in its scope, the School Twinning program is not branded as its own entity; it is embedded within schools and is part of the Jewish Federation. Today, there are 500 schools around the world in this program that are part of The Jewish Agency’s Partnership2Gether initiative…
After working in this program for 16 years, I see the School Twinning program as a vibrant and effective model for teen engagement because it builds relationships between Jewish teens around the world through experiential Israel education. And the program is only growing. About a year ago we developed a new triangle program, adding the Shalom Aleichem School in Vilnius, Lithuania, to a partnership between an afternoon school in Los Angeles and a school in Tel Aviv. Eighth graders from all three countries met in Israel in December 2012 for a 10-day delegation. I believe that, for them, it was an experience that they will never forget. There was nothing else to connect them other than being Jewish teens, and yet, they found so many things in common. This, in my opinion, is teen engagement in action!"
Read more at eJewish Philanthropy.