A craft activity with Madrichot from Israel
Active Educational Enrichment in Jewish Studies, Zhitomir
Name of implementing organization:Alumim --The Center for Child Development in Western Ukraine
Date of initial project approval:October 2010
Project aims and objectives
To strengthen and enrich Jewish knowledge and identity
Children in grades 4-10 living in the orphanage dormitories
The Alumim Center serves Jewish children at risk, ages 2 through 19 years old, from throughout Ukraine. The children who arrive at Alumim are barely aware that they are Jewish, and have little if any familiarity with Jewish Tradition. In addition to nurturing them and working to help them overcome their difficult circumstances, the Alumim Center works to connect them to their Jewish roots and Jewish Tradition, and to help them develop a feeling of belonging to the Jewish people.
This project provides 8 weekly hours of Jewish Studies, within the framework of the orphanage dormitory. This is in addition to 3 hours weekly which the children already receive as part of the school curriculum at the local Or Avner day school. The children are divided by age into 2 groups (Grades 4-7; and Grades 8-10). They study for 3 hours on Sunday mornings, and one hour each afternoon on Monday through Friday. The curriculum includes: Jewish History; Bible; Jewish Culture; The Jewish Calendar, Jewish Holidays and Remembrance Days; The Prayerbook; and The Jewish Outlook. The study of the State of Israel is an integral part of the curriculum.
The curriculum is taught by local teachers. A team of 4 madrichot from Israel come to Zhitomir as part of their student teaching practice for their studies in education at Bet Rivka College in Kfar Chabad. They organize and conduct Shabbat and Jewish holiday celebrations, and periodic activities connected to Jewish Tradition. They also conduct Hebrew language lessons, and other group educational activities. The madrichot conduct prayer services for the entire orphanage, as well as regular group activities on Shabbat. They also operate a social club two times weekly, and a learning center in preparation for Jewish holidays.
Children in grades 4 through 10 participate in both the formal and informal components of this project. Children younger than grade 4 participate in enrichment activities conducted by the madrichot, but do not attend classes in Jewish Studies on Sunday mornings or weekday afternoons.
The Educational Coordinator of the orphanage serves as the Project Director. She recruits and select the staff, and prepares the formal curriculum and the informal education program.
Evaluation of the Jewish Studies classes conducted as part of the project includes formal testing twice each year. Evaluation of the effectiveness of the informal education component of the project is based on a qualitative assessment of each child's behavior; his/her involvement in Jewish activities which are not mandatory; and his/her ability to participate in a conversation in Hebrew.
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS:
40 children in grades 4 through 10 participate in both the formal and informal components of the project.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION?
Local teachers, and madrichot from Israel
Children in grades 4 through 10 received grades (in Torah, Jewish History, Mishnah, Oral Torah, and the Weekly Parsha) based on results of their performance on examinations and their participation in lessons. Most grades ranged from 85-100, indicating significant mastery of the material taught.
Main budget elements
Madrichot from Israel
Holiday and seasonal activities
Books and educational materials