This Sunday, June 25, over 80 educators will gather in Atlanta for the 16th annual Educator Workshop on Modern Israel organized by the Center for Israel Education and the Emory University Institute for the Study of Modern Israel.

The group represents over 50 Jewish day schools, congregations and other programs in 17 states, four countries (Canada, Mexico, Panama and the United States) and Washington, D.C.

Over the course of five days, participants will take part in a variety of interactive and engaging learning sessions that highlight both content and instructional techniques relating to Israel’s history, politics and culture. Sessions include “Teaching Israel Through Liturgy,” “Development of the Hebrew Language,” “The June 1967 War,” “The Politics of Representation in Israel” and “Reality Television as a Paradigm for Israel Education.”

At the core of the workshop is the need to help educators expand their personal knowledge of modern Israel while providing them with the tools necessary to disseminate that knowledge to others.

Both CIE and ISMI believe that only by teaching the next generation using original sources and providing content within the appropriate context can we as a community achieve a stronger awareness of the domestic and foreign challenges that Israel faces, as well as celebrate the country’s success.

For this year’s workshop, we are partnering with the newly created Atlanta Jewish Teen Initiative to offer a special afternoon of learning for local educators working with Jewish youth in Atlanta.

This special component workshop will be highlighted by a panel titled “Engaging Youth With Israel.” The panelists will be David Abusch-Magder, the head of school at the Epstein School; Rabbi Peter Berg, the senior rabbi at The Temple; Amy Dorsch, a former national education coordinator for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; and Ariel Lapson, the program manager for Ta’am Yisrael: A Taste of Israel at the Jewish United Fund in Chicago.

Moderated by CIE and ISMI founder and President Ken Stein, the panel will explore challenges and successes related to connecting diverse groups of learners to the Jewish state, whether they are seeing a distancing of American Jewish youth from Israel, and what they are doing to engage their constituents with Israel in 2017 and beyond.

The ultimate aim of the workshop and the special inclusion for local educators is to elevate the conversation about Israel among Jewish educational institutions and to assist educators in making effective changes in the way Israel is taught and learned.

As one participant in last year’s workshop said after returning to her school in Montreal: “The workshop on Israel was one of the best workshops that I have ever attended. As a Judaic studies coordinator, I already sat down with one of my teachers to revamp the whole part of our high school Jewish history curriculum dealing with the creation of the state by implementing some of the ideas learned in this workshop into our classes.”

If you would like to learn more about the CIE-ISMI Educator Enrichment Workshop, contact me at rich.walter@israeled.org.

Rich Walter is the associate director for Israel education at the Center for Israel Education (www.israeled.org).