Our Stories

Milton Launches New Three-Year Middle School Israel Education Curriculum

January 10, 2019 by Lisa Schopf (Faculty and Staff)

Milton is launching a three-year Israel Education curriculum designed for middle school students. This summer, educators and administrators at the school attended the 17th annual educator workshop on teaching Israel hosted by the Center for Israel Education (CIE) and the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel (ISMI). Lisa Schopf, Middle School Director, and Shoshana Sfarzada, Hebrew Teacher and Instructional Leader for Grades 2-7, met with leading practitioners in Israel education and participated in a variety of interactive and engaging learning sessions that highlighted both content and instructional techniques. The sessions guided educators on the use of primary sources collected from Arabic, Hebrew, German and English archives and a trove of books on the subject.

Lisa and Shoshana developed a unique three-year arc for Israel education at Milton’s middle school, applying the values, educational philosophy, and pedagogical approach of the school. Our Israel Education program is designed to help students cultivate a meaningful relationship and connection with Israel, along with an understanding of the history of Israel, the land, and its people. The focus of the sixth grade Israel Education curriculum is Visions of Action, examining how Zionism was articulated, discussed, and approached in the 19th and 20th centuries. In Grade 7, students delve into the Challenges of Creation, exploring how the people of Israel pursue and achieve sovereignty, autonomy, and security. Using songs and poems as the narrative thread, the students study the building of the country while at the same time fighting for security and survival. As students learn about the decisions and activities of the State of Israel over the years, they will identify pivotal moments, and analyze the impact and consequences of those decisions in the present day. Eighth grade students consider the Complexities of Growth and Change as they survey the diversity and complexity of the land and its people. Using primary documents, the students examine the challenges, successes, conflicts, innovations, struggles, and promise of the land of Israel and its various communities.

The overarching goal of Milton’s Israel Education curriculum is to provide students with a foundational understanding of the modern State of Israel, preparing them for extended learning beyond middle school. Throughout the three-year course of study, students are engaged in both experiential learning that emphasizes connection to Israel and an in-depth academic exploration of Israel that we expect will continue to develop and deepen. Learn more about our Middle School Curriculum.

Understanding Israel’s past and present helps to provide a glimpse into who we are as a Jewish people… We need to know Israel’s story and that of its people because Israel is integral to Jewish identity in the 21st Century.

– Kenneth W. Stein, President of the Center for Israel Education and Professor at Emory University