Sixteen Jewish early childhood education directors and master teachers, along with their mentors and the director of the Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute (JECELI), are participating in a ten day intensive Israel Seminar beginning today.

The Israel Seminar, a critical component of the 15-month JECELI professional learning program, offers educators ways of understanding the role of Israel in Jewish life – past, present, and future. Through visits to education programs in Israel, dialogue with their Israeli counterparts, and opportunities for reflection, the cohort of educators gain new perspectives on Jewish early childhood education and a better understanding of how to incorporate Israel education into their programs. This will be the second JECELI cohort to participate in the Israel Seminar.

JECELI is a joint program of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), in consultation with Bank Street College. It is funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation, as part of its Education Initiative. JECELI Cohort 2 includes educators from across the country, representing various types of Jewish communities and all major denominations of Judaism. Cohort members, who have spent the last few weeks preparing for the seminar, will visit both the HUC-JIR and JTS campuses in Israel.

The Seminar’s varied itinerary helps educators think about their own relationship to Israel and to their work as educators, while also understanding the Israeli early childhood education experience through teachers and families. In the Negev city of Yerucham, for example, the cohort will visit early childhood education programs, will engage with teachers, and will have the chance to meet with community leaders. The cohort will visit numerous other education programs and major sites throughout the country.

To learn more about JECELI please visit www.JECELI.org.