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Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar Revisits His High School and Meets the Be’eri Program

Minister of Education Gideon Sa’ar visited his former high school—Tichon Hadash in Tel Aviv—and spoke with students studying in the Be’eri program.

In the beginning of February 2012, Israeli Minister of Education Gideon Sa’ar joined Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI) President Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, SHI CEO Hana Gilat, Russell Berrie Foundation Senior Consultant and Israel Program Director Binny Shalev, Chair of the Be’eri Steering Committee Alan Feld, and Be’eri program directors on a visit to the Minister’s former high school—Tichon Hadash in Tel Aviv. The group attended an 11th grade Tarbut Yisrael (Jewish studies) class made up of students who have completed grades 7-10 of the Be’eri curriculum and are now majoring in Tarbut Yisrael. After class, Sa’ar spoke with students studying in the Be’eri program.

While at the school, Sa’ar witnessed firsthand the Be’eri program for Jewish-Israeli identity education in action. Following the class, Minister Sa’ar conducted a discussion with the students to gauge their satisfaction with the program. Many of the students studying the Be’eri curriculum, which is mandatory for grades 7-10, go on to choose Tarbut Yisrael as their high school major. In his conversation with the students, Sa’ar emphasized that Jewish culture does not belong to any specific stream of Judaism but rather belongs to the entire Jewish nation—the very same message that the Be’eri program disseminates to its students by empowering them to feel ownership for Jewish texts and to develop their own understandings of their Jewish-Israeli identity.
Following the visit, Minister Sa’ar enthusiastically shared his experience on his Facebook page: “I enjoyed a moment of satisfaction (nachas) this morning when I visited the Tichon Hadash school from which I graduated in 1984. I participated in a grade 11 Talmud class relating to Dnai Bar Matzra. I was impressed both by the teacher and the very engaged students. I was particularly pleased to learn that over 40 students in this class will matriculate in Oral Law… The students expressed their satisfaction with the Be’eri program and indicated it as the reason that they decided to major in Talmud.”

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