Seventy Israel educators from across North America will gather in Atlanta on June 24 for an intensive week of learning about modern Israel.

Now in its 17th year, the annual educator workshop of the Center for Israel Education and Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel focuses on sharpening participants’ personal knowledge of Israel while guiding them in the creation of educational frameworks and activities to impart their knowledge to diverse groups of learners.

Participants represent 13 states, three Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia and Mexico City.

The structure of the workshop has evolved in recent years to better address the multiple settings in which learning about Israel takes place.

This year, in addition to our participants from Jewish day and congregational schools, a cohort of five American Jewish Committee staff members will join the workshop. The AJC cohort, which represents Atlanta and three other communities, is focused on enriching the experience of the teens who participate in the Leaders for Tomorrow program.

Leah Gross, AJC Atlanta’s assistant director of development, and Julie Katz, AJC Atlanta’s assistant director, will be participating. Gross shared her goals for the workshop.

“This past year was our first year instituting the Leaders for Tomorrow program in Atlanta, which is AJC’s education and advocacy program for teens, empowering young Jews to speak up for Israel and the Jewish people. The basis of the advocacy training is teaching the history and other major aspects of Israeli society,” Gross said. “By attending this workshop, I believe I will leave more equipped to teach about Israel and enhance these teens’ learning experience in the program.”

In addition to the AJC cohort, Atlanta-area participants include Michal Ilai, a teacher and the Israel program coordinator at the Weber School, Rachel Jenks, an educator at Congregation Or Hadash, and Ezra Flom, who will be coordinating the community’s Shinshinim program.

The Shinshinim program, supported by the Jewish Agency for Israel in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, will bring eight young Israelis to the community next fall to share their love and passion for Israel in a wide variety of educational settings. Flom wants to participate in the workshop “to learn more about Israel’s history and society so that I can best guide our Shinshinim in their work as they help to create deep, long-lasting relationships between Israelis and Atlantans.”

Also new for this year: We will be live-streaming several sessions on our Facebook page ( throughout the week. Members of the community are invited to join us online for these sessions, featuring CIE President Ken Stein, CIE Israel specialist Eli Sperling, Emory religion professor Rabbi Michael Berger and Earlham College emeritus politics professor Greg Mahler.

A schedule of the live stream is available on our website.

For more information about the CIE/ISMI summer workshop, including additional options for local participation, contact me at

Rich Walter is the associate director for Israel education at the Center for Israel Education (