A semester in Israel

A semester in Israel

Karmiel, Israel, will host a high school semester for American teens.
Karmiel, Israel, will host a high school semester for American teens.

A high school semester program is opening in Pittsburgh’s Partnership2Gether community of Karmiel, Israel, and its head came here last week looking for students.

Sivan Bamberger, director of the Dror Leadership High School — part of the Kibbutz Program Center — said the program will begin in January 2014 and is open to 10th- and 11th-graders looking for a unique educational experience before college.

She expects the initial class to include 14 to 25. Some teens have already committed to the program.

“We’re looking for any kid who is looking to do something a little bit different for a semester — four months in their high school career,” Bamberger told the Chronicle. “We’re looking for kids who … show a certain amount independence and ability to be self-responsible. … These have to be kids who both want to do something interesting and different and are capable of handling this type of program. It can be kids who are very active in their community or are kids who have been to Israel a million times.”

The semester program will be based at Karmiel’s Adam Chevra v’Teva High School. There, the American teens will meet mostly as a separate class, taking the basic courses of study such as math, English and science, but also studying intensive Hebrew — at all levels and taking some elective courses with Israeli students.

Locating the study program within a Hebrew-speaking high school will afford the Americans more opportunities to interact with Israeli students in and out of the classroom, Bamberger said.

They will also study specially designed courses by Dror in Israeli society and Jewish history, and travel extensively about the country as part of their experience.

Last week was Bamberger’s second trip to the states to recruit teens and parents, as well as establishing contacts with Jewish organizations for the new program.

When not studying, the student will be housed in a kibbutz or moshav not far from Karmiel.

Why Karmiel?

“Karmiel is a really cute, small little place … and it has a very long Anglo-Saxon history, so Americans, British, South Africans came to live in Karmiel when it was a small development town,” Bamberger said, a Washington, D.C., native who made aliya. “Today, it’s kind of a thriving town … but it still has that small community feel. It’s still a place where kids are safe to walk around and can easily feel secure in their surroundings.”

Want to go?

Contact Sivan Bamberger at the Kibbutz Program Center at 212-462-2764 or visit drorleadership.org. The website is currently under construction, but should be active soon.

(Lee Chottiner can be reached at leec@thejewishchronicle.net.)


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