In February, Modi’in eighth graders launched a project with the Modi’in Municipality, Be’eri, the Department of Social Education, the Orim program, and the Rochester-Modi’in partnership. The goal of the program was to encourage the connection between students, their city, and the community by learning about Israeli culture through the values expressed in Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkey Avot) that deal with cultural controversy, courage, caring, responsibility, and community action projects.
The project consisted of three parts-text study, translating texts into social action, and a creative component which brought the process that the students experienced into the public sphere. The organizing team felt that it was crucial for the project to be clearly based on the values learned and to have a significant physical presence.
All Modi’in schools– secular and religious, participated in the project, each one choosing a value to showcase in the creative component of the project, in which students designed a park bench that could be displayed in a public place.
A class that chose "courage" created a bench with a flow of alcohol bottles on one side with one water bottle coming toward it on the other. This signified having the courage to stand up to peer pressure. Another class chose to reflect "conflict" in a bench designed to look like a seesaw, signifying the finding of common ground. The designs that emerged from the project were imaginative and inspiring in their portrayal of the values learned.
The Modi’in Municipality has committed to showcasing the benches designed by the students in a city park. The model bench exhibition was attended by hundreds of Modi’in citizens, as well as Mayor Haim Bibas.