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StandWithUs IsraelLINK middle-school curriculum, Jewish Agency for Israel partner on program for ShinShinim

"Offering training and resources to young Israelis specifically designed for Diaspora students presents an opportunity for American young teens not only to learn about Israel but to develop a genuine relationship with Israel," says Mina Rush, creator of IsraelLINK.

IsraelLINK Educational Specialist, Michelle Geft, trains Jewish Agency for Israel ShinShinim. Photo courtesy of StandWithUs.
IsraelLINK Educational Specialist, Michelle Geft, trains Jewish Agency for Israel ShinShinim. Photo courtesy of StandWithUs.

StandWithUs’ signature middle-school curriculum IsraelLINK and the Jewish Agency for Israel are pleased to announce that they have partnered on a new venture in which the Jewish Agency’s ShinShinim (service-year emissaries) will present the IsraelLINK curriculum as part of their year of service. Israeli high school graduates, ShinShinim work with Jewish communities throughout the United States and the world prior to joining the Israel Defense Forces or being part of Shirut Leumi, a volunteer position in Israel in lieu of army service.

Designed for Jewish day schools and supplementary middle-school programs, IsraelLINK creates high-quality educational resources, trains teachers and provides ongoing support to inspire 21st-century learners. The curriculum has been utilized in approximately 400 educational institutions to date in the United States, including schools and synagogues.

Both organizations just completed a six-month pilot of the partnership program with IsraelLINK Educational Specialist, Michelle Geft, who is spearheading it. The pilot involved 20 talented young Israelis who were JAFI ShinShinim working throughout the United States to provide a good cross-section—West Coast, Midwest and East Coast. The outcome was overwhelmingly positive with participants praising IsraelLINK’s unique educational approach and content.

As a result, Michelle trained 200 ShinShinim in Israel who begin their 2023-24 service year ambassadorship in August. In addition to the training they received, Michelle will follow up regularly to ensure they have the support they need to successfully implement the program. IsraelLINK regional professionals Hannah Rabin (Southwest), Sarah E. Weiss-Poland (Southeast), Eric Leiderman (Midwest), Deborah Peretz (Northeast) and Ida Kahn-Subin (Mid-Atlantic) will provide additional support.

Mina Rush, StandWithUs National Director of Middle School Education and Programming and the creator of IsraelLINK, described the partnership with the Jewish Agency as a “dream come true.” She notes that “offering training and resources to young, passionate Israelis specifically designed for Diaspora students presents an opportunity for American young teens not only to learn about Israel but also to develop a genuine relationship with Israel. This has always been IsraelLINK’s educational goal: to provide students with meaningful ways to integrate Israel into their Jewish identity-building process. Happily, the ShinShinim will open doors to adopt the curriculum in the new locations that they are serving.”

Michelle Geft states, “I am so excited to be working with the ShinShinim. The idea for the partnership came about during a meeting of educators working with them. It became evident that these young Israelis were constantly seeking resources to enhance their teaching about Israel. IsraelLINK’s innovative and interactive platform emerged as the ideal solution to complement their educational toolkit.”

Avigail ben Aryeh, content director at the Adelson Shlichut Institute, the Jewish Agency, expressed gratitude for the partnership, stating: “IsraelLINK offers a professional and powerful tool that is a gift to our work. We are thankful for their passion and commitment and look forward to a long-term partnership together.”

Malka Clement, director of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at Wise School, expressed, “IsraelLINK is the most authentic resource for the ShinShinim. This platform explores Israel today, and what better way to deliver it than through The voices of young Israelis teaching about Israel.”

ShinShinit Eli Maydar shared, “The IsraelLINK program is designed to ensure that students learn about Israel in a fun and engaging manner that deeply connects them to the country.” ShinShinit Yali Mozes added: “IsraelLINK has been an invaluable tool that supported my work, providing experiential and enriching content for my students.”

Institutions that will be partnering with a member of the ShinShinim in the coming year or seeking more information about integrating IsraelLINK into their curriculum are encouraged to contact: info@IsraelLINK.org.

Learn more about IsraelLINK HERE

Learn more about the ShinShinim, click HERE

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StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, nonprofit, and nonpartisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism. Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle-school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and programs throughout the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Brazil and the Netherlands. For the last 11 years, StandWithUs has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator and GuideStar, two charity watchdog groups that assess hundreds of thousands of charities in the United States.
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