The Be’eri-Israel Scouts Partnership for Jewish-Israeli Identity addresses a strategic Be’eri decision to develop the field of informal education that meets youth in a variety of different educational junctions, further broadening the reach of the Be’eri informal curriculum ecosystem. The launch of this partnership coincided with a timely and significant decision by Scouts’ leadership to develop a new educational program for the movement, making Jewish-Israeli identity one of its main pillars.
The first year of the program focused on establishing the partnership and laying the groundwork for introducing Jewish culture and education into the youth movement. The goal was to help Scouts leaders and educational coordinators gain a sense of ownership over Jewish ideas by increasing their comfort with Jewish texts and tradition. Engaging change agents from within the Scouts’ infrastructure, Be’eri worked to ensure the effective transfer of Jewish content and pedagogy in the goal of building a movement-wide culture emphasizing Jewish values. A true transformation in the state of mind and approach of Scouts’ leadership occurred during this pilot year, as leaders began to understand how Jewish values and ideas are relevant to the movement.
"Today, months after the first seminar, I am beginning to realize that our leadership team experienced a kind of "spiritual awakening," explained Reli Israeli, Scouts National Head Counselor. "Leadership coordinators called me to share their thoughts and reflections; training coordinators expressed a desire to participate in the course and delve deeper into questions of Jewish identity; training coordinators taught poetry and texts at the Scouts coordinators’ meetings and initiation ceremonies. We are assembling a group of selected Scouts staff to be trained to implement Israeli-Jewish Identity content in daily Scouts activity. Beginning in September, this group will undergo joint Be’eri–Scouts training."
At this stage, the partnership is actively creating programmatic initiatives that place Jewish-Israeli identity, Jewish pluralism, Jewish democratic values, social action, and leadership training at the core of the Scouts’ educational agenda. A multiyear process to integrate relevant content experts into the Scouts’ educational leadership team as educational facilitators will ensure that core Jewish-Israeli identity concepts, worldviews, and opinions become an authentic part of the cultural atmosphere of movement leadership and a part of the very DNA of the youth movement.
The Scouts have recruited 14 content facilitators who will undergo a year of Hartman Institute training. These facilitators have been identified as the most appropriate entity to create and then implement systematic methods for infusing the Scouts culture with the essential Jewish and democratic values to which are committed. The combination of a wide national reach, through the Scouts’ infrastructure, and a supportive relationship with Be’eri regional facilitators will provide Scouts’ content facilitators with the knowledge that will position them to introduce new curricula and activities into the Scouts’ system. We believe that the content facilitators will be able to introduce Jewish and democratic values into Scouts’ tradition and curriculum.
Efforts will also be aimed at Scouts mid- and upper-level management (70 people, including content facilitators and heads of troops). Three day-long seminars will consist of deep conversation on Jewish and democratic values in Israel and discussion of practical issues regarding the meaning of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. The seminars will be designed to inspire participants to ponder these issues and to adapt the modeled methodologies into Scouts’ curricular materials and activity.
We are confident that our plans for the coming year will continue to provide a strong foundation for the two entities to overcome challenges and expand the initiative going forward.