The iCenter welcomed the first cohort of participants for its new program offering a certificate in Experiential Israel Education.
Dubbed "Leaders Lab," the cohort of 31 participants from a wide range of educational settings for Jewish teens and youth is the first of seven planned cohorts for 2021.
The program was under development for several years, but the coronavirus pandemic pushed the launch forward, with the program now being entirely virtual.
Participants will spend six weeks in groups and explore content and skill-practicing in order to better understand Israel and education. The feedback the first cohort will provide is vital, as it will allow the program to better shape the content and experience for future cohorts.
“Israeli culture is so dynamic and offers many ways for educators to tap into young learners’ passions, enabling them to build their own relationship with Israel,” iCenter's Anne Lanski said in a statement.
“Yet this opportunity can be overshadowed by political polarization, toxic campus environments, and hesitation among Jewish educators to embrace Israel – and its educational possibilities – as integral to their work. This new program will help train educators and engagement professionals, and instill in them the confidence and depth of knowledge, to support Jewish students before they go to college," Lanski said.
“The sessions are so incredibly thought-provoking and are certainly allowing me to explore different perspectives and lenses while continuing to develop my Israel story,” said Leah Kaplan of the UJA Federation of NY and a member of the Leaders Lab cohort.
“I’m looking forward to bringing this content to our teens in the future.”
The certificate will allow for Israel education to be further professionalized, and is primarily aimed at professionals who have Israel education as part of their work, rather than their main focus.
“With the certificate in Experiential Israel Education, educators have a new way to elevate their skills, knowledge, and network of peers in the field,” Lanski added.
“We’re thrilled to kick off the program with the Leaders Lab cohort, and look forward to engaging hundreds of other professionals in the program throughout the year.”