Despite the War, Herzog College Reaches Out

Herzog College has received a heart-warming response to three new international Jewish teacher education initiatives that opened during the first week of Israel’s war against Hamas.

Despite the war raging in Israel, Herzog College decided to proceed with its online training programs for Jewish educators around the world, as the college opened three new courses slated to start on October 15. Herzog Global launched two new government-funded teacher education courses for English-speaking and Russian / Ukrainian teachers, and Herzog College opened its new program for heads of Jewish schools, in partnership with UnitED.

Herzog College’s new Russian-language “Rimonim” program is organized in conjunction with Beit Chana Teacher Training College in Dnipro, Eastern Ukraine. Many of its students are living in exile across Europe, but continuing their training online. At the planning meeting with program coordinator Nataly Nabitovsky, Rabbi Mayer Tzvi Stambler of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine, expressed his appreciation that the program is proceeding, despite the war. This is particularly relevant to teachers who have also been coping with the challenges of war in their countries. 22 teachers joined the first online session and started by reciting Tehillim together.

Teachers from all over the world also made huge efforts to join Herzog Global’s third English-speaking “Rimonim” teacher training program. Although the opening session took place online after midnight in Sydney and Melbourne, late at night in Perth and Singapore, in the afternoon in Europe and South Africa, and at six a.m. in Arizona, 22 teachers participated. They will study online for several hours every week for the next 14 months, and will attend an educational seminar in Israel in the summer of 2024. Both Rimonim programs are funded by Israel’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Diaspora Affairs.

The Herzog – UnitED Fellows Program opened as planned, with 20 school heads from 11 countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Australia. This professional development program creates a global community of school leaders. Its focus is to provide skills and tools to allow educators to bring meaningful innovation and change into their school.  These leaders will learn together from experts, mentors, and their peers, with monthly online sessions and in-person seminars planned for Israel and Europe.

The President of Herzog College, Rabbi Dr. Yehuda Brandes said: “It was heartwarming to join online conversations with educators from all over the world, and to hear how their communities are connected with what is happening here. Each of them described what they are doing and how they are working with their students in support of their extended family, the citizens of Israel. We sometimes think that we are supporting them, but today we can see how much they are also supporting us. We feel that the hearts of the Jewish people are beating together as one.” 

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