The Be’eri-Israel Scouts Partnership is a pluralistic educational program for youth-movement leadership that aims to transform Jewish-Israeli identity among local youth. This partnership is a unique opportunity for Be’eri to work with informal educators to create a curriculum based on Jewish and democratic values that addresses issues that Israel faces today.
Launched in Spring 2014, the goal of the partnership is to infuse the culture of Israel’s largest youth movement with a sense of Jewish identity, social action, and leadership that will empower participants – scouts and the movement’s leadership – to feel a greater sense of identification with their religious and national identities and democratic values. The Scouts’ leadership is dedicated to implementing the pluralistic, values-based curriculum and approach to experiential educational activities.
The first year of the program was successful in creating a meaningful partnership and laying the groundwork for engaging Scouts’ leadership in the thought process necessary for re-positioning Jewish culture and education within the youth movement. The partnership faced the dual challenge of overcoming wariness toward Jewish "religion", coupled with a strong affinity to "Scouts tradition." Raising the level of Scouts leaders’ comfort with Jewish values, texts, and tradition has encouraged them to take ownership of Jewish ideas and their own Jewish heritage. The result is a real partnership in the creation and implementation of this joint vision.
In addition to running full-day seminars for national and regional management teams and educational directors, Be’eri facilitators served as content advisors in a two-day curriculum-writing workshop focusing on Jewish-Israeli identity. This year seventeen Scouts educational coordinators are participating in the annual Be’eri School for Teacher Education experiential educators track in Jerusalem. We are now beginning to receive requests from Scouts around the country to facilitate Beit Midrash- style learning activities, which, in the past were foreign and intimidating to this audience.
Reli Israeli, Scouts national head counselor, says " Be’eri" staff led us in exploring the meaning of Jewish-Israeli identity in our secular world, which cannot focus on teaching Torah, halacha, and mitzvot. Brainstorming with the Be’eri team helped us to deal with this challenge. We were given the space we needed to grapple with the subject, make informed decisions, and choose an authentic educational direction."