A pilot program has just been completed of a middle school curriculum designed to help Jewish students explore their roots and connect to historic and modern-day Israel.
It's called "LINK – Discovering Your Israel Connection" and was developed by StandWithUs. Mina Rush, director of middle school education for the pro-Israel organization, says the outcome of the year-long pilot program – conducted at 20 schools across the U.S. – exceeded their expectations. Analysis of data afterwards showed that students gained a marked increase in knowledge and understanding about:
- Jewish continuity in Israel
- Israel's size, demographics, and location
- Israel's diversity
- The country's role in global humanitarian and disaster aid
- Opportunities in Israel for refugees and economic migrants
- The global impact of Israeli advances in technology.
The six-lesson, online unit, Rush says, is needed among Jewish middle schoolers.
"What several studies have shown – and they're very well-known studies," she emphasizes, "is that the connection that young people had to the historic Israel, as well as [to] the modern state of Israel, has been diminishing over the years."
According to Rush, Christian and public school students can benefit from the series as well.
"We really purposely developed this without any agenda," she tells OneNewsNow. "There's no religious agenda, there's no political agenda. It's primary goal is to connect today's youth to Israel based on their core values."
More details about the curriculum, as well as a sample lesson, are available online at IsraelLink.org.