(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.
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,
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.