Using sports as an educational tool

Bring It In hopes to build a connection between American young adults and underprivileged Israeli youth

By ALYX S. RIMBERG
July 30, 2010 07:05
2 minute read.
Bring It In program  participants.

311_ Bring It In. (photo credit: Bring It In – Israel Web site)

 
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Tapping into the competition and passion infused in basketball, a program called Bring It In – Israel hopes to build a connection between American young adults and Israeli underprivileged children.

Although it has only been six weeks since the program started, courts have begun springing up all over the country. Participants from Jerusalem, Beer Sheba, Arad, and Eilat have flocked towards the programs’ new innovation.

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Organized by David Lasday, a University of Maryland graduate, Bring It In – Israel is a new program looking to strengthen ties that many typically ignore between Judaism, the Hebrew language, and athletics.

With these three pillars stabilizing Bring It In – Israel’s foundation, Lasday is hoping to bridge the cultural gap between Jewish children in both Israel and North America.

American young adults will come to Israel for several weeks, on a fellowship, and will receive a rigorous religious and sports education.

Each American fellow will coach a group of underprivileged children ranging from the ages of six to twelve and discover that there is a strong connection between the Jewish values applicable from the game of basketball, to the game of life.

Ultimately, America with have a group of well-educated certified sports coaches that will enable the Jewish community to thrive in an alternative way.



Rather than create an environment in which Judaism must be taught in a classroom setting, this program will institute a new precedent for alternative methods of religious learning, making it more appealing to children.

Simultaneous with the sports training that the American fellows will acquire, they will hopefully cease to view Jewish values and athleticism as two separate entities.

At the end of the session Lasday hopes to send the coaches back to America where the will immerse themselves in a Sunday school environment and teach children not only Hebrew, but also the various ways in which Jewish values can be affiliate with sports.

“In association with basketball you can learn respect, communication, community, goal orientation, and camaraderie; all essential in the Jewish traditions,” said Lasday.

Through the coaches’ Hebrew education, athletic training, and newfound parallel between sports and Judaism, Bring It In – Israel will have facilitated in bridging a cultural gap through two commonalities: Judaism and athletics.

In the words of Plato, “You can learn more about someone in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

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