haviv school kkl.
(photo credit: )
The small tin box is making a grand comeback. KKL-JNF's Blue Box, which in the past collected donations to redeem the Land of Israel, is returning to schools and kindergartens. This time, the aim is not to raise funds but a hands-on educational activity to enhance ecology, nature and love of the Land of Israel.
"The Blue Box - small but Great," a program produced by KKL-JNF's Education and Youth Division and approved by the Ministry of Education, was officially launched this week in Haviv school, Rishon LeZion.
The program focuses on ecological issues and goals, stressing partnership, environmental responsibility and the participation of school students in their immediate surroundings and countrywide. The educational kit includes a colored poster, KKL-JNF coins, stickers and multiple activities tickets, a Blue Box, a CD with a song about the Blue Box and an instructional booklet for teachers in schools and kindergartens.
"It was no coincidence that we decided to start the program especially in this school," said KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler, at a festive ceremony at the school. "This was the first Hebrew school in Israel and in the world, where all subjects were taught in Hebrew. Benjamin Zee'ev (Theodor) Herzl visited here. Israel's visionary founder always had a Blue Box on his table and today we are all continuing in his footsteps."
Also present were the Minister of Education, Professor Yuli Tamir and senior ministry officials, the Mayor of Rishon LeZion Dov Tzur and excited first grade pupils.
"The world is developing and lots of trees are disappearing. We must preserve the trees and save the world. Children are the generation of the future and we shall lead this process, said Yarden of Grade 6. Her class mate Ettie said that "the time has come to restore the Blue Box, as it was once."
Stenzler added that "the Blue Box actually built up the State of Israel. Everybody gave a cent and with this money the land of Israel was bought, dunam after dunam. For 108 years the Blue Box has symbolized the bond between the Jewish People and the land of Israel. Together we are reviving the values of environmental quality and solidarity with the land of Israel and mankind. The box symbolizes the yearnings for the days when the Jewish People were united in common purpose."
Rishon LeZion Mayor Dov Tzur, himself a graduate of Haviv school, said at the ceremony that "many years ago when I was a pupil here, we also had a Blue Box to redeem the land of Israel. Our task now is to preserve our country and make it more beautiful and greener."
Education Minister Professor Yuli Tamir said "Nostalgia is important, but renewal is more important. KKL-JNF has learnt how to combine the two. We have moved from donations to deeds, aimed at getting to know and love the place in which we live. Today we don't collect money but our children's good deeds. We shall set out from this school to cover all the schools in Israel, making it an integral part of our educational program."
Turning directly to the young pupils, the minister said, "When you open the Blue Box you will find games inside which you can play on the computer or in the classroom. As you play these games, you will know Israel and learn about environmental quality."
Yossi Wasserman, Secretary-General of the Teachers' Union, said: "KKL-JNF values are the values of the Jewish People in Israel. It is our duty not only to impart knowledge, but to teach and transmit to our younger generation the values of love for mankind and love for our homeland. We were all raised on the Blue Box, and this is our opportunity to transmit these values to the next generation."
In the artistic part of the ceremony, the pupils demonstrated their aptitudes in song and dance." "Preserving the environment is not just a slogan, and everyone can influence," the children recited from the stage. After they began singing Israeli songs, even the esteemed guests in the first row could not resist and joined in with them, singing and clapping: "Rise up and wander through the land of Israel with your backpack and your cane, and you will surely meet Eretz Yisrael on the way," they sang all together.
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