Holy Land Democracy Project

The Holy Land Democracy Project (HLDP) brings Israel education to charter, public, private and religious schools throughout Southern and Central California. We do so by taking high school educators to Israel for a first-person experience with the Holy Land, and providing them with an interactive five-lesson unit, The Many Faces of Israel, they will use for five years as they share their understanding of Israel with their students.

"The most amazingly inspiring trip of my life"

 

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The History

HLDP was launched primarily through a partnership between the Jewish Federation and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties in local Catholic Schools. Today we continue to work with our local Catholic Schools, while expanding into independent private, charter, and public high schools. Our teachers come from an array of disciplines: History, Government, Social Sciences, Theology, and Literature, even Math and Sciences. Although individual teachers apply and partake in the program, the HLDP also works to establish partnerships with the schools themselves.

Over twelve years, the HLDP has taken 185 teachers from 84 schools on the trip. We estimate that over 35,000 students have gained a new and unique perspective on Israel through their teachers' first-hand knowledge of the country and the Many Faces curriculum. The project has also spawned a handful of independent student trips to Israel.

"Overwhelming and spiritually moving"

 

The Journey

Following a selection process, participating teachers attend a weekend retreat exploring the complex history of the Middle East and the Jewish people, an introduction into how the State of Israel came to exist and the contemporary issues it faces, and preparation for the actual trip. This material is filtered through The Many Faces of Israel unit which teachers are introduced to using.

The centerpiece of the HLDP is the 10-day journey through Israel, during which teachers are given a wide-ranging experience of the country and the land, covering religious, historical and cultural elements, learning with renowned scholars, meeting local teachers and students, having dinners with families, all while encountering one of the most ethnically, politically and religiously diverse nations, and most dynamic democracies, in the world.

An "open-eyed, open-minded experience"

 

The Teaching

The Jewish Federation, in coordination with senior teachers, developed the dynamic and interactive five-lesson unit The Many Faces of Israel. Following their trip, HLDP teachers integrate those lessons into their classroom as a vehicle for sharing their personal experience in Israel while inspiring their students to explore issues of historical, political and social significance through their own eyes. Throughout the five-year commitment and beyond, the staff of the HLDP provides continuing support to its teachers through resources, materials, guest speakers, and events.

The Holy Land Democracy Project is a deeply immersive experience of contemporary and ancient Israel that has a profound impact on its participants.

"I will carry what I learned into the classroom as well as my every-day life."

 

To learn more about the Holy Land Democracy Project and how to get involved contact Jonathan Freund at JFreund@jewishla.org or (323) 761-8150.

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