Education Bridge Visit to Rochester

An exceptional delegation of educators from Modi’in entered the homes, schools and hearts of Rochesterians, December 10-17, visiting Jewish schools, public schools and cultural attractions. The week included visits to the Children’s School of Rochester, the Montessori School, the Susan B. Anthony House and the Corning Museum of Glass, firsts as Modi’in delegation destinations.

Moshe Levy, Modi’in’s Deputy Mayor for Education and a member of the group of nine educators, said he “really learned the importance of the project,” by coming to Rochester. ”It’s very important that we see the synagogues and religious schools in Rochester and it’s equally important for them to see us.”

The group was additionally fascinated by a panel discussion with two women rabbis and a member of Rochester’s Orthodox community. Kochava Pearl, science teacher at the Dorot School in Modi’in said, “I learned a lot about the different affiliations in the US. I had no idea.”

In Rochester, Temple Beth El’s principal Susan Bernstein describes the Education Bridge as “like a real bridge. More lanes are being added each year.” The bridge pairs educators in Modi’in with Jewish educators and religious schools in Rochester. Together, they share curricula and students do projects and exchanges to get to know one another. And increasingly, the Education Bridge includes pairings with Rochester public schools.

Dror Shain, grade 5 teacher from the Dorot School and another member of the delegation, says he was “an empty vessel” before the trip and learned about so much in Rochester. “We came as Jewish people from a Jewish country to Jewish schools and I did not expect that going to the public schools would be so amazing. The kids prepared questions ahead of time and I felt like I was on a mission.” Children at the School of Inquiry in the city of Rochester peppered the delegation with questions about life in Israel including those as varied as “Is everyone Jewish?,” “Do you go to church?” and “What do you believe?”.

At the Children’s School of Rochester where the population is 50% immigrant, the delegation was honored with a reception featuring kosher foods and Hanukkah decorations. Israeli flags marked each of the classrooms they were to visit.

Education Bridge Co-chairs Sherry Goldstein and Pauline Rosenberg were impressed by the quality of the group from Modi’in who were “interested in everything” and highly engaged with their experiences. “They had a lot to offer us and we, hopefully, had a lot to offer them.” Jan Katz, the Federation’s Jewish Education Services Director, called each member “respectful, analytical and professional.” She also praised “an extraordinary group of hosts” in Rochester.

Aviva Dvir, Education Bridge Coordinator from Modi’in, aptly summed up the experience at the closing event at the home of Rochester’s P2G Chair Dr. Ricki Birnbaum. “It’s important that you came here and it’s important, when you go back home, what you will do to build the bridge to a higher level.”

For more photos, visit the Rochester Modi’in Partnership Facebook page

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