Outstanding bar and bat mitzva sermons get award at Knesset

Prize is culmination of the Masa El Hadrasha sermon program, currently reaching 10,000 students weekly.

May 27, 2010 02:04
1 minute read.
Masa El Hadrasha prize cermony.

DrashaPrize. (photo credit: Amir Woolf)

Four sixth-graders were awarded the Legacy Heritage Prize for outstanding bar and bat mitzva sermons delivered before the Knesset on Tuesday, in the culmination of a yearlong weekly program initiated by ITIM – The Jewish Life Information Center, to forge Jewish identity among secular students in a pluralistic way.

They also delivered the sermons before the Education Committee in a ceremony attended by committee head MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), MK Anastasia Michaeli (Israel Beiteinu), Education Ministry representatives, ITIM head Rabbi Shaul Farber and dozens of other sixth-graders and teachers from public schools nationwide participating in the program.

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The Masa El Hadrasha (“Journey to the Sermon”) program, which ITIM launched in 2005, currently reaches 10,000 students weekly at more than 130 schools. The program’s aim is to help transform a student’s bar or bat mitzva into an interactive, stimulating and ultimately empowering moment through joint work on the sermon, that will ultimately reflect a combination of Jewish tradition with modern culture. The initiative also offers a partial solution to the intimidation that secular students tend to feel when encountering Jewish source materials, especially Torah.

The project has its own Web site, www.itim123.org.il, and is under review by the Education Ministry for inclusion in the Jewish heritage curriculum in public schools next year.

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