A group of vibrant Israeli educators has recently swept through South Africa including visits to Johannesburg and Cape Town as part of the P2G Beit Shemesh – Mateh Yehuda (Partnership 2Gether) School Twinning Program of the Jewish Agency. The School Twinning Program is characterized by the building of relationships between the schools on many different levels: The school executives, teachers and students through various means: Electronic communications, letters, video conference etc.. The program aims to build bridges between the schools on personal and professional levels.
With this in mind, teachers from three different schools of the Mateh Yehuda and Beit Shemesh Area arrived in South Africa to meet their counterparts at the King David Primary Schools in Johannesburg and at Herzilia Constantia in Cape Town. The delegation was welcomed with open arms by the Principals, teachers and the members of the South African Jewish Community.
Prior to the visit of the delegation, Howie Gordon arrived a few days earlier to visit some of the other Jewish day schools in Cape Town and he was welcomed warmly by all the schools that he visited. He was impressed by the Zionist aspirations of all the schools and he noted the positive reactions to the School Twinning Program. He said that some new schools were already contemplating joining the program. Children are eager to connect with Israeli children their age.
The delegation visited the King David Linksfield Primary School, who have been part of the program from its inception. The Principal, Mrs Shelley Freinkel, spoke very highly of the program and its impact on the children that had taken a part in this amazing interaction.
According to Gordon, one could feel the “Zionist Fever” in the air. Children were actively involved in activities about Israel today. There was a positive buzz and one could sense the positive atmosphere all around.
The delegation spent majority of the time planning their yearly programs and discussing the outcomes for the coming year. Quality time was spent with the teachers in both cities, during school time and in the evenings socializing.
Lydia Tass, one of the delegates from Languages and Cultures School in Beit Shemesh, was amazed to see that they got on so well with their counterparts and managed to plan the whole year ahead.
The delegation was also treated to a tour of the beautiful Cape Coast. Thank you to all the incredible people that made this tour possible. Special thanks to Tamar Lazarus, Yaniv Nachmias, Nili Baruch, Madelaine Fine and Shimon Shamilla for attending to our every needs, and to the school executives and teachers for allowing us access to their most precious possessions, the children. Thank you to the Johannesburg and Cape Town Communities that welcomed us all into their homes and lives. We are eternally grateful and extend the same offer to you when you are visiting our area. Thank you also to Eli Rudolph from the P2G office in Johannesburg for her role in organizing this program and to Sonia Shurhavetsky (P2G Israel) for leading this successful experience.
The delegation left South Africa inspired and with an immense feeling of pride that they are part of this wonderful program, and that began a mere 3 years ago, yet the ripples of success are being felt as we enter into our fourth year.
Vice Principal Hartuv Elementary School
School Twinning Co-ordinator in the Partnership