Name of implementing organization:DIRSUD
Date of initial project approval:November 2005
The Jewish community of Marseilles numbers about 80,000, and is the second largest Jewish community in France. Marseilles also has the largest Jewish population anywhere on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, outside Israel. The religious and community life of the Jews of Marseilles are coordinated by the Consistory. The community operates 44 synagogues, attended daily by more than 5,000 people. In addition, there are 20 Jewish study centers. Marseilles has a Beth Din, and there are 50 rabbis serving in the city's various synagogues. There are in Marseilles more than 35 stores that sell kosher products, and over 20 kosher restaurants.
The community is served by 17 Jewish schools, of which four are State schools. There are 11 Talmud-Torah schools, attended by more than 500 children. The community operates a well developed network of charity associations.
During the early 2000's, a significant increase in anti-Semitic attitudes and violence in France also has affected the Jewish community of Marseilles. Arson at the Or Aviv synagogue, in April, 2002, shocked the community. The Jewish community of Marseilles maintains a warm and strong relationship with Israel, and many of its members have relatives in Israel.
The project aims to provide headmasters with better professional, technical, and practical experience; and to harmonize general studies with Jewish Studies.
This project has implemented a training program for 11 principals from 9 schools located in Marseilles, Nice, Cannes, Lyon, Strasbourg and Toulouse. The following schools have participated in the project some of them from the beginning and others joined the group later: ORT school Marseilles, Alliance School Nice, Kerem Menahem Nice, Kerem Menahem Cannes, Beth Menahem, Lyon; Gan Mordekhai, Marseilles, Aquiva School Strasbourg, Gan Ami Marseilles, Bne Eléazar, Marseilles. Or Torah Nice, Gan Rachi Toulouse.
The training had taken place over the course of two years. It was conducted under the auspices of the Andre Neher Institute. It has included coaching, monthly seminars and discussion groups, and an annual one-week seminar.
Key issues dealt with in the program include: the place of Jewish Studies teaching in the functioning of a principal; the hidden curriculum in Jewish Studies; the curriculum for teaching Tanach and the Oral Torah; developing assessment tasks for Jewish Studies; and the reciprocal link between Israel and the Diaspora. The program also dealt with general education issues, including management strategies, and school plans for the future. Half the time in the seminars was devoted to Jewish Studies topics including the following: Hidden Curriculum in Jewish Studies; and The Structure of Knowledge of Jewish Science Toward Reciprocal Links Between Israel and the Diaspora.
Coaching sessions took place during the course of three days. Coaches observed the principals and met the school staff. Most of the principals received 20 hours of coaching annually. They also attended monthly seminars and discussion groups in Paris, Cannes, Nice, Marseilles and Toulouse.
2 annual 3-day seminars based on reflection and exchange have taken place in France. These seminars have included hours of didactic sessions. Additional hours were devoted to responding to participants’ individual questions.
Yavne school in Marseilles is engaged in the writing of a Jewish Studies curriculum for high school under the supervision of Shmuel Wygoda.
Kerem Menahem Nice is completing a curriculum for Hebrew Studies under the supervision of the Andre Neher Institute.
Gan Mordekhai also is engaged in the writing of a curriculum for Jewish Studies, together with a vision of their school.
Each principal who participated in this training understood the importance of 2 things:
Another program for principals will begin in Paris in September, 2008. Those who still feel the need to improve their skills may join the new group.
Three points were emphasized in feedback from principals who participated in the program:
The most important problem encountered was finding the right day and the right place for the headmasters to meet, so that they could leave their schools and come to the training. Even after the dates of the meetings were set, it was difficult for the principals to leave school to attend. That is why for the second year, much of the training was individual, in the school of the each headmaster.
Paris was the best place to meet for all the headmasters, because of the easier transportation to the city.
24 BD Edouard HERRIOT, 13008 MARSEILLE / FRANCE
Telephone/fax: 0033 4 91 22 73 79