Student Leadership and Advocacy for Israel

Dr. Laurence Kutler, Head of School, Herzliah, Montreal

The Herzliah Student Leadership Israel Advocacy Program is designed to give students an in-depth understanding of Israel, her strengths, her role in innovation and technology and her place in the global community. Our goal is to empower and inspire our students to become engaged in the process of advocacy through information and education.

Presently offered to our Secondary V students, the program will be expanding to include Secondary III and Secondary IV. This will enable us to offer a broader program and devote more time to strengthening our students’ skills.

The objective is to arm our students with the information needed to confidently and intelligently speak in defense of Israel, and to teach them how to counter and educate those presenting negative and erroneous propaganda about Israel.

Our comprehensive curriculum includes a historical review of Zionism. Students learn about different perspectives of Zionism. Through multimedia and guest lecturers, they are shown how Zionism is understood by different segments of society, both Jewish and non-Jewish.

The Middle East conflict is presented in context of Israel today. Students study the ethics behind decisions and actions taken by the Israelis and look at the morality of both sides of the conflict. They learn that culture dictates morality and that sometimes what is moral for one side may be repugnant to the other.

Students are empowered to become politically engaged in the process of advocacy. As part of the curriculum, we give our students the tools to effectively navigate the political system by teaching them about political parties and by exposing them to guest lecturers, which brings perspective and context.

As part of the expansion of the program, we are setting up a new school group called Club Z.

Once a week students will be treated to a free lunch and be taken on a virtual trip to Israel. These “tours” will be led by our Israeli teachers and will include dynamic and knowledgeable guest speakers from our community and beyond.

We plan to offer off-site retreats where the group will engage in discussions and will cover all aspects of Israel including her people, geography, history, industry and political and religious landscape.

With the impending construction of our new school, which will include a state-of-the-art multimedia lab, Club Z students, in conjunction with our sister school in Beer Sheva, will be taught how to produce in-house radio programs and will use these skills to research, write and produce a series of programs that highlight many facets of Israeli life.

In order to physically connect our students to Israel, we plan to organize a weeklong mission to Israel for some of our most passionate and invested students, who would be accompanied by two school professionals and a delegation of Canadian parliamentarians.

We are committed to the importance of complementing formal education with dynamic, experiential opportunities. We believe that it is through these programs that the knowledge acquired is internalized, synthesized and applied to the student’s reality.

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HaYidion Excellence Summer 2015
Summer 2015