Genesis Philanthropy Group and City of David help Israeli students search for identity in the heart of Biblical Jerusalem

Beginning this September, more than 35,000 Israeli high-school students and participants of IDF preparatory courses will take part in two City of David projects, supported by Genesis Philanthropy Group, which will help them explore their Jewish -Israeli identity through an active encounter with Jerusalem’s ancient history.

The “Digging for Identity” program is a four-day journey for Israeli 10th-grade students, which includes taking part in an active archaeological dig, experiential tours, hikes, encounters with various personalities, processing sessions, and group building activities. All activities take place under the guidance of a “madrich” certified by the Ministry of Education.

The “LIFT-Omek Hashetach” program is intended for those Israeli youth who are taking part in a yearlong or six-month long army preparatory academy program (“mechina”), and offers them a hands-on interactive educational journey, in which they engage with Jerusalem’s history, archaeology and modern-day complexity. Mechina students will take part in active archaeological digs, experiential tours of various areas of Jerusalem and encounters with a range of Jerusalem residents. Tours will be conducted by City of David or Yad Ben Tzvi senior guides with multiple years of experience on site, while the students will take part in shaping the program together with City of David educational staff.

These unique programs give the new generation of young Israelis on the threshold of their adult life an opportunity to come in direct contact with the historic roots of the Jewish people and to see scientific findings from Biblical times that they are encountering in their studies.

According to Natalie Shnaiderman, GPG’s Director of Global Grantmaking: “We believe that the unique atmosphere of the City of David, where Biblical history is recorded in stone and amazing archaeological artifacts, should be very conducive to our mutual goals – to help students and young Israelis develop an understanding of Jewish culture, heritage and values as a gateway to a deeper exploration of their personal and national identity. These programs make learning Jewish history and searching for your own place in it an exciting and unforgettable experience.”