Leadership in Education
Joey Asch is an alumnus of the Wexner Israel Fellowship Program and is a senior prosecutor in the criminal division of the District Attorney’s Office in Jerusalem. He has also lectured numerous times on “Law and Terrorism” for various organizations in the U.S. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I live in a mixed community (religious and non-religious) on a cliff overlooking Nachal Prat (known to most as “Wadi Kelt”), east of Jerusalem. Kfar Adumim was founded in 1980 by a small group of special people, religious and secular, rightists and leftists, liberals and conservatives – they all came together on the hills of the Judean desert to create one community – diverse in thought but unified in their everyday life. They even dared dream that they would get along with each other not a simple task, knowing the great emotions that come with religious or political affiliation in Israel. These people also founded an elementary school which schools several hundred kids today, religious and secular. It’s actually a very impressive school (three of my five kids attend there), but the school is not the story I intended to tell here.
A few months ago, at the beginning of the school year, we heard that a group of about thirty new Ethiopian olim, ages 6-9, were having a very rough time at their school in Jerusalem. These are little children who were still new to the country, could not speak Hebrew, and felt very foreign and isolated. There was concern that they would have to miss out this school year due to the problem of finding them a different school. The school and community in the Kfar saw this as an opportunity, and quickly volunteered to have them learn with us.
Soon the whole school was engaged in preparing for their arrival – a picture of each child and name was hung on the walls, their story and history was learned, and a beautiful ceremony was crafted for their arrival day.
That morning at 8:00 AM the entire school, staff, and many parents awaited the bus. We all filled the soccer field forming a half circle, and when the children got off the bus and entered the school yard, they were greeted by hundreds of friendly faces. At the end of a beautiful gathering, the singing of HaTikva, and many tears, the school year began.
So far so good.