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Holy Land Democracy Project

The Holy Land Democracy Project (HLDP) brings Israel education to charter, public, private, and religious schools, and colleges, throughout the Los Angeles area. Through their first-person experience in Israel and a five-session unit on The Many Faces of Israel, teachers share with students their understanding of multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious, contemporary Israel.

“An open-eyed, open-minded experience.”


The History

The Holy Land Democracy Project was launched in 2004 primarily through our partnership with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties in local Catholic Schools. Today our work has expanded into independent private, charter, and public high schools, and colleges. Our teachers come from an array of disciplines: History, Government, Social Sciences, Theology, and Literature, and Sciences. The HLDP also works to establish partnerships with the schools themselves (see the list below).

Since the program began, some 241 teachers from 113 schools have experienced Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Haifa, the Negev Desert, the Dead Sea, the Golan, and more; toured religious, historic, and cultural sites, shared meals with families, learned with renowned scholars, explored on their own — and integrated their experiences into the classroom. We estimate those teachers helped over 35,000 students gain a fresh and unique perspective on Israel, its history and people, and its neighbors. The project has also spawned a handful of independent student trips to Israel.


“I feel incredibly lucky to have formed strong relationships with other excellent educators.”


The Study Trip

In preparation for the trip, participating teachers attend a weekend retreat where they explore the complex history of the Jewish People, the modern-day Middle East, and are introduced to the culture, society, and many faces of Israel. Many participants also find the retreat’s content and activities applicable to their own teaching.

During their intensive 9-day journey, participants immerse themselves in the country and the land, its history and modernity, its triumphs, and challenges, and above all engage with its people: educators, students, clergy, entrepreneurs, activists, immigrants, peacemakers, journalists, and civic leaders from across the social, religious, ethnic, and political spectrums.

HLDP educators return with unique first-hand knowledge of one of the world’s most diverse nations and dynamic democracies.


“I now have specific stories that I can incorporate in my teaching.”


Bringing the Trip to the Classroom

In coordination with senior teachers, the Holy Land Democracy Project developed the adaptable interactive five-lesson unit The Many Faces of Israel. Following the trip, teachers use those lessons together with their experiences in the land to inspire students to develop critical thinking skills as they explore complex issues of history, politics, and a shared society through their own eyes.

Throughout the five-year commitment and beyond, the staff of the HLDP provides support to its teachers through resources, materials, guest speakers, and professional development.

The Holy Land Democracy Project is a deeply engaging experience that has a profound impact on its participants, their students, and on Greater Los Angeles.


“I have never had the opportunity to see, experience, and learn so much, and so fast.”




Partial list of schools with teachers who have participated or currently participate in the Holy Land Democracy Project:

Bell Gardens H.S.
Bellflower H.S.
Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto
Bishop Montgomery H.S.
Bowman H.S.
Buckley School
Burbank H.S.
CALS California Academy for Liberal Studies
Campbell Hall
CHAMPS Charter High School of the Arts
Cleveland Charter H.S.
Crescenta Valley H.S.
Don Bosco Technical Institute
Downey H.S.
El Camino Real Charter H.S.
Environmental Science and Technology H.S.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
Gertz-Ressler H.S.
Glendale H.S.
Granada Hills Charter H.S.
Holy Family H.S.
Huntington Park College-Ready School
iLEAD Schools
John Burroughs H.S.
Junipero Serra H.S.
La Canada H.S.
La Reina H.S.
LACES Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies

Larchmont Charter School
Los Angeles City College
Marymount H.S.
Mater Dei H.S.
Mayfair H.S.
Newbury Park H.S.
Norte Vista H.S.
Oaks Christian School
Pacifica Christian H.S.
PUC Lakeview Charter H.S.
Ramona Covenant Secondary School
Rosary Academy
Sacred Heart H.S.
San Gabriel Mission H.S.
Santa Margarita H.S.
Santa Monica H.S.
Sierra Canyon School
SOCES Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies
St. Anthony H.S.
St. Genevieve H.S.
St. Lucy’s Priory H.S.
St. Monica Catholic H.S.
Ulysses S. Grant H.S.
Valley International Preparatory H.S.
Verbum Dei H.S.
Village Christian School
Warren H.S.

“The most inspiring trip of my life.”

Path to Peace 2015 | Holy Land Democracy Project | Jewish Federation Los Angeles


Robert Hendlish, VP, Israel Education & Advocacy