Morasha (Heritage) is a Kol Israel Haverim program working to promote social justice and a values-based Jewish Education, that seeks to strengthen the connection between Jewish identity with social responsibility in the school environment.Morasha has operated for 15 years in Israel’s socio-geographic periphery catering for pupils and teachers in primary and secondary schools. Today, Morasha is implemented in 38 secular and religious state schools. Between 2017 and 2018, Morasha trained 2200 teachers and influencing the lives of 17,800 pupils.
While the school environment plays an important role in forming the identity of its pupils, not all of the voices of the various pupil’s identities are aptly represented at school. Pupils who do not find their families' traditions echoed in the school's cultural sphere often feel alienated. Coupled with this, the growing trends in Israeli society of concentrating on individual achievements and overlooking unity and social cohesion, are constantly reflected in the educational sphere. Schools now promote an agenda of personal achievement, casting aside the discussion of important values and ethics.
In the absence of both a shared language for discussing social issues and a supportive community atmosphere, pupils are deprived of a sense of belonging. This diminishes their sense of feeling responsible toward others leading to increasing polarization in Israel's society.
Morasha aims to strengthen identity and translate it to social action in the school environment in order to reinforce Social Jewish values in Israeli society which an emphasis on mutual respect and responsibility. Morasha identifies how Jewish social values can be implemented in the school's daily life. Over the course of four years, Morasha empowers the educational staff to undergo a transformative process by developing and implementing original values-based educational programs to create a sustainable change in the school's culture and approach.
Morasha achieves this through numerous means including:
- Pupils Identity
Pupils are encouraged to express their various approaches to Jewish tradition, including that of the traditional pupil taking pride in their culture of origin. Morasha has a four-year program in which it works with educational staff and the pupils.
- Creating Safe Space
Morasha program creates a safe space where a common language is used, and where joint forums for advancing values-based education are established, enabling pupils and teachers to deepen their dialogue. This causes barriers to erode and stereotypes to be abandoned, enabling Jewish social values to become relevant in the lives of pupils' lives. These values can ultimately be channeled toward the benefit of the community, in school and beyond.
- Social Responsibility
Pupils with a greater sense of security in their identities will become increasingly aware of the values of Social Judaism. This will contribute to them being more active and embrace social responsibilities.
Approach and Methodology
In cooperation with the school management, the program establishes milestones for assessing the school's progress towards the predefined goals. Morasha's implementation in schools includes the following components:
- School Guidance: Morasha adopts a top-down approach as a facilitator from Morasha is appointed to work with the educational staff members. Over the course of four years they work together to reformulate the school's mission statement and vision.
- Mentoring Teachers: Morasha facilitators mentor 27 selected teachers who are Morasha coordinators in their respective schools. Together they attend professional Morasha seminar training of 60 hours over the course of a year. Seminars address existential questions of Jewish identity and teachers receive the dialogical methodology of teaching. This transforms pupils from being passive to becoming actively involved in classrooms and the community. After four years of training and mentorship, teachers can independently lead the Morasha program in their schools.
Morasha adopts a bottom-up approach as pupils instigate change that spreads through the school environment up to the educational staff and management. This is achieved via two programs:
- Movilei Chavruta – Pupils Lead Chavruta
Morasha trains each year pupils that have been selected by their teachers, to become leaders of 'Dialogue Circles'. Pupils meet weekly with Morasha coordinators and facilitators where pupils learn to independently use pedagogic tools and texts in a beit midrash dialogical style in a manner that is self-sustaining once the facilitator leaves after four years. They are trained to lead 'Dialogue Circles' and as a result increase their self-confidence and improve their ability to listen and manage the discussion. This increases the prospects for social mobility of pupils in the socio-geographic periphery.
- Mitalmud Lemaaseh – From Learning to Action
Over 2600 pupils study in depth Social Jewish texts in a dialogical manner that deal with moral issues and are sensitized to the needs of others offering pupils exposure to different segments of society. The pupils on their own initiative create volunteer programs in their communities. Examples include volunteering with children that have been hospitalized or have special needs. In Ofakim, pupils along with their parents went to the homes of elderly people to celebrate Jewish holidays such as Chanukah, Purim and Yom Ha'atzmaut. The success of this program has led to this volunteering programs to be repeated on an annual basis.
From 2017-2018, 650 pupils are participating in this program impacting up to 14,000 pupils and members of the community.
- Conferences: Morasha holds three national conferences each year, two for Movilei Chavruta and one for Mitalmud Lemaaseh for 800 pupils and educational staff from religious and secular schools who come together. The conferences bring together future
- leaders of Israel at informal gatherings where they can share experiences, receive training workshops.
- Program Development and Study Materials: Morasha develops and offers a variety of resources in terms of curricula and teaching materials on the topics of Jewish-Israeli identity, social values, and communal responsibilities. The website of
- Morasha provides access to this information and to the teaching materials for the benefit of all the schools affiliated within the network.
Schools in which the Morasha Program is Active in the 2017-2018 School Year:
Netanya: Rigler; Mikve Israel: General School, Religious School, French Israeli School; Holon: ORT Rabin Bat Yam: Ramot, Harel; Gedera: Begin Darca, Ilan Ramon Darca; Mateh Benjamin: Kfar Adumim; Kiryat Malachi: Gymnasia Darca; Gan Yavneh: ORT Rabin; Ashkelon: Sinai, Makif Dalet; Kiryat Gat: Yad Yitzchak, Sprinzak, Rivka Gover, Masuah; Sa’ad: Da’at; Netivot: Makif Darca, Hatzvi Darca; Beersheva: Afik, Yosef Karo; Ofakim: Ashalim, Kol Abir Ya’acov, HaGivah; Tzur Yigal: Nof Tzurim; Yerucham: HaMeuhad; Tzur Hadassah: Lavie, Tzurim.
Our committed partners include: Israel's Ministry of Education, AVI CHAI Foundation, Adelis Foundation, Darca School Network, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, UJA - Federation of New York, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, and local education authorities and municipalities in Israel.