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.

DrashaPrize (photo credit: Amir Woolf)
(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 aceremony attended by committee head MK Zevulun Orlev (HabayitHayehudi), MK Anastasia Michaeli (Israel Beiteinu), Education Ministryrepresentatives, ITIM head Rabbi Shaul Farber and dozens of othersixth-graders and teachers from public schools nationwide participatingin the program.
The Masa El Hadrasha (“Journey to the Sermon”) program, which ITIMlaunched in 2005, currently reaches 10,000 students weekly at more than130 schools. The program’s aim is to help transform a student’s bar orbat mitzva into an interactive, stimulating and ultimately empoweringmoment through joint work on the sermon, that will ultimately reflect acombination of Jewish tradition with modern culture. The initiativealso offers a partial solution to the intimidation that secularstudents tend to feel when encountering Jewish source materials,especially Torah.
The project has its own Web site, www.itim123.org.il, and is underreview by the Education Ministry for inclusion in the Jewish heritagecurriculum in public schools next year.