Leadership for Tomorrow

Renana Atia, Communications

Renana Atia
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Exploring Questions of Representation and Stereotypes

Renana Atia is a doctoral student in the Smart Family Institute of Communications at the Hebrew University. She was educated in both ultra-Orthodox and National Religious schools, and later completed her national service working with people from diverse backgrounds. 

Moving between different worlds, Renana has always been interested in questions of representation – specifically, how the media (mis)represents  certain groups (e.g., women, religious communities). She chose to study political science and communications at the Hebrew University, hoping to gain practical skills for creating social change. Yet early in her studies, she was drawn to research, as she discovered the importance and joy of methodologically studying social issues. By the end of her first year, she had decided to pursue a graduate degree.

Renana eventually earned a master’s degree in political communication with a minor in gender studies at the Lafer Center for Women and Gender Studies. At the same time, she began working as a teaching assistant for both undergraduate and graduate courses. Beyond gaining and honing her own teaching skills, Renana was thankful for the opportunity to help shape and guide the younger students in their own academic journeys.

Today, Renana is a doctoral student, conducting research under the supervision of Dr. Meital Balmas-Cohen and Prof. Eran Halperin.

"I study the cognitive motivation necessary for changing perceptions of stereotypes, and the possibility that individuals who do not adhere to stereotypes may contribute to minimizing inter-group tensions."

Her research will employ quantitative methods and be rooted in data from  several countries, including Israel, the United States, and Germany. Renana greatly enjoys her studies and is particularly thankful for the Faculty of Social Sciences' support, which ranges from lectures on publishing, assistance editing English texts, and information about post-doctoral opportunities.

Outside of her studies, Renana practices archery and is involved in an organization that aims to increase women’s participation in the sport, including women who are either at-risk or come from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Looking forward, she hopes for a career that combines research and teaching.

"The Hebrew University, and in particular the Faculty of Social Science, have provided me with amazing support, while also granting me the freedom to conduct my doctoral research. The Hebrew University has never ceased to challenge me.

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Efrat Dressler, Postdoctral Fellow at Wharton

Efrat Dressler

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Efrat Dressler spent her postdoctoral year at Wharton Business School with all the benefits of being at one of the best business schools in the world.

“It was only once I was at Wharton, and with the benefit of hindsight, that I really understood the JBS’s requirement for its faculty members to have spent time abroad.

“During my year there I enjoyed the variety of faculty seminars, I attended and presented at numerous conferences and I had the opportunity to meet and make connections with tens of academics from other universities. At Wharton alone there are some 30 professors in the Finance Department and another 25 in Accounting.

“I’ll be applying to the JBS later this year and in the meantime, am continuing my postdoctoral research in Jerusalem, including a couple of collaborative projects with professors that I met at Wharton."

"None of this would have been possible without the generous scholarship I received and I’m so grateful for the experience."

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Saving Animals & Educating People: Yarah Kablan, Veterinary Student

Yarah Kablan
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Yarah Yosef Kablan grew up in the picturesque Druze village of Beit Jann, located within the Meron nature reserve in northern Israel. Her father would take her out hiking, teaching her from an early age to respect and care for nature. But very little emphasis was placed on the proper and humane treatment of animals, and Yarah was always distressed to see how her community treated pets, especially dogs – who were seen primarily as watchdogs.    


Yarah did whatever she could: learning about different animals, caring for them, and saving stray cats and dogs. Beit Jann didn’t have a single animal clinic, so Yarah decided to become a veterinarian.  

Yarah’s parents are both educated: her father was the village’s first lawyer and her mother is a computer programmer. They encouraged their children to select professions based on their interests, and work hard to succeed. As a result, Yarah’s siblings hold diverse professions, including structural engineering, social work, teacher, industrial engineer, fitness instructor, and programmer. 

When it came time to choose, Yarah decided to study animal science at a college in northern Israel. She also worked at an equine therapy ranch and a pet supply store, and she volunteered at animal sanctuaries and a non-profit dog adoption agency. 

After graduating, Yarah volunteered at a youth center in her village. She held a series of sessions for high school students, teaching them what to do and who to contact if they encounter an injured animal, her decision to become vegan, and brought in a dog trainer who taught the teens how to properly care for, feed, and treat dogs. To this day, the participants are in touch with Yarah, asking her advice. They have saved 3 dogs, and a few have become vegans or vegetarians. Even more importantly, their attitudes have changed, and they behave more kindly towards animals. 

 

 

Yarah also joined a local animal rights group that maintains contact over Whatsapp. This diverse group, which includes Druze, Muslims, Christians, and Jews – of all ages – notify each other and lend a helping hand to save animals. She was even featured in a documentary that was screened at the DocAviv Galilee festival, spotlighting her efforts to save a dog who’d been run over and suffered from a broken shoulder. She has also saved hedgehogs, rabbits, and birds, transferring them to professional hands.

 

 

Another passion project of Yarah’s is transferring carcasses to research facilities. This includes a marten whose body was fully intact (a rare specimen) that she kept in her freezer, much to her mother’s chagrin, until researchers travelled to Beit Jann to pick it up.  

Last year, Yarah enrolled in the Hebrew University’s Koret School of Veterinary Medicine and begin working towards her DVM degree (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine).

"I am finally working towards realizing my dream. I never considered any other profession – I always knew I’d become a veterinarian."

She is looking forward to working on her capstone project, researching Leishmaniosis (leishmaniasis) in cats under the supervision of Prof. Gad Baneth, the Rybak-Pearson Chair in Veterinary Medicine. She’s also excited to begin the clinical years, when she’ll finally begin gaining hands-on experience saving animals.

Yarah is scheduled to graduate in three years. She plans to complete her internship at the Hebrew University’s Veterinary Hospital, gaining professional confidence and clinical experience before entering the field. Next, she hopes to join an existing clinic to gain even more experience. When she feels ready, she will return to Beit Jann and open her clinic.

 

"I’m here to help animals and change people’s attitudes towards them. I dream of opening an animal shelter and helping as many animals as I can."

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HU Students Volunteer in the Coronavirus Labs

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In this behind the scenes tour, meet the Hebrew University students and researchers spearheading efforts against Covid-19. They are volunteering their time, expertise, and lab equipment to help process Corona tests.

 

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HU Students Volunteer to Tutor East and West Jerusalem High School Students

Student Tutoring

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Israeli schools shut down just as high school students were beginning to prepare for their matriculation exams. Dr. Inbal Goshen of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences at the Hebrew University realized that many youngsters were likely not getting the help they needed during this crucial time. Dr. Goshen's was closely familiar with the needs of high school students, as last year she taught a class at the Leyada high school, adjacent to the Hebrew University.

Dr. Goshen contacted the heads of faculties and departments across the University. Within a week, she had assembled a virtual team of 140 student volunteers, which eventually grew to 170 volunteers. Using digital platforms, these volunteers currently tutor 190 high school students from 11 schools in a wide variety of topics, ranging from physics, mathematics, biology, English, Arabic, computer science, history, and Bible.

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Revolutionizing Cancer Treatment

Benzion Amoyav

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Benzion Amoyav was always drawn to science. As a high school student, he studied both chemistry and biology, and was looking forward to continuing studying science at the university level. But at the same time, he also wanted his studies to benefit society. He decided to study pharmacy, which perfectly blended his two passions. 

During his undergraduate studies, Benzion conducted research in Prof. Ofra Benny’s laboratory, focused on developing a system that produces highly tunable micro- and nanoparticles for treating tumors. These “smart” particles primarily attack the tumor and release drugs in a controlled manner, resulting in better patient outcomes and less negative side effects.

After graduating, Benzion completed his internship at Hadassah, received his pharmacy license, and returned to Prof. Benny’s lab to continue with his research, eventually earning a master’s degree.

Today, as a doctoral student, Benzion is researching liver cancer and embolization (blocking solid tumors’ blood supply), a common, yet limited-efficacy, clinical practice for treating various types of tumors. He is taking a radically different approach by countering the microenvironmental conditions that are favorable to tumors. His main effort is to develop a drug-delivery device for focused therapy in combination with embolization.

By releasing the drug in a targeted fashion in close proximity to the tumor, Benzion’s research will enable doctors to reduce side effects, increase efficiency, and improve clinical outcomes.

"I believe that research education is the key for innovation and improvement, because laboratory-based discoveries can help large numbers of people. I am grateful for having the opportunity to impact other people’s lives.

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Shelly Engdau Vanda, Social Work

Shelly Engdau Vanda

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Shelly Engdau Vanda was born in Ethiopia and made aliya with her family, via Sudan, when she was five years old. Although she was a bright student, there was nothing about her upbringing that hinted she’d become a trailblazer. Today, Shelly is one of only a handful of Israeli doctoral students of Ethiopian descent.

"Throughout my years in academia, I never had a single professor of Ethiopian descent. Even today, there are none or next to none in Israel. We’ve created a loose network of Ethiopian academics and we support each other."

Shelly was the first in her family to obtain a higher education when she earned a bachelor’s degree in social work. She spent the next four years working in early childhood centers, which offer professional services ranging from speech and occupational therapy to psychological services. Working primarily with families who’d emigrated from Ethiopia, Shelly developed and adapted programs to their needs. Eventually, she was appointed to manage one such center herself. 

Four years later, Shelly decided to pursue a master’s degree. She enrolled in the Hebrew University’s early childhood program. Her thesis was recently published as a book, Resilience in Immigration: The Story of Ethiopian Jews in Israel from a Perspective of 30 Years.  

After completing her master’s degree, Shelly spent the next seven years working for the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality in different management roles. She was also a member of the municipal taskforce that helped immigrants from Ethiopia settle in the city. Shelly began noticing problems in how the social services and educational system treated these immigrants; while the problems initially seemed minor, she gradually realized their systemic nature. 

Although Shelly loved working with people, she decided to return to academia to better understanding these issues and hopefully contribute to their resolution. She completed her doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof. Dorit Roer-Strier from the Nevet Greenhouse.

"I saw how programs meant to help repeatedly failed, causing both sides much frustration. I developed a model that was rooted in these immigrants’ resilience, not their shortcomings. This model can be adapted for any population, not just Ethiopian immigrants."

For her doctoral research, Shelly studied social workers and educators who work with children in distress from the Ethiopian community. She examined how these community practitioners perceive aspects of risk and protection in these children’s lives, and the context through which their perceptions are constructed. 

"I spend my days at the library, dividing my time between reading and writing. I’ve published a book based on my master’s thesis and am currently working on my dissertation and a volume of poetry. I love writing, the words just bubble up within me. Without the financial support I’ve received, I wouldn’t have been able to fully dedicate myself to my writing."

Shelly recently submitted her doctoral thesis and was planning on a post-doctoral position in Germany. But the Coronavirus changed her plans, and she will continue her research at the Hebrew University. She hopes to eventually join the Hebrew University faculty. Her husband, also of Ethiopian descent, is also a full-time doctoral student nearing the end of his studies. Besides raising three young children, the couple also provides financial assistance to their parents and siblings. 

In addition, Shelly has been volunteering for as long as she can remember. She’s tutored and mentored children and students, young adults in crisis, and is active in a number of organizations, including the Israel’s social work newsletter, the Coalition for Education from Birth, and Beersheba Mothers Against Police Violence.

Over the course of her doctoral studies, Shelly received four prestigious awards: The Nira Shenhar Prize for Excellence (2017); the Dean’s Award for Ongoing Volunteer Work with Individuals and the Community; The ISEF Award of Excellence (2020); and the Rector’s Award for Community Volunteering.

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Muna and Sarah, Biofilm and Endocannabinoid Researchers

Muna and Sarah

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Sarah Gingichashvili was born in Georgia, grew up in Jerusalem, and has spent much of the last decade and a half at the Hebrew University.  She earned a BSc in computer science before deciding to pursue a degree in dentistry. After three pre-clinical years, Sarah continued to an MSc, and then PhD, in bio-medical sciences. In 2015 she joined Prof. Doron Steinberg’s lab and began conducting biofilm research. In her spare time, she began an MSc in computer science, completed an MBA, and worked as a developer for a local health analytics start-up company. 

Muna Aqawi grew up in East Jerusalem and earned a BSc in Pharmaceutical Studies from the Jordan University of Science and Technology. After graduating she returned home and worked as a pharmacist. Yet her love of science lured her back to academia. In 2017 she began the Hebrew University’s International Bio-Medical Sciences Graduate Program and joined Prof. Doron Steinberg’s laboratory, researching biofilm, with the goal of earning a PhD. 

Muna and Sarah instantly became friends – within the lab and beyond. They often go together to the movies or to eat local street food. They have also presented at conferences and participated in faculty seminars together.

"We feel very fortunate to work side by side and to get to know each other through research and the beautiful city of Jerusalem."

This is Muna’s second year receiving the STEP-Sisters award. After her original partner graduated, Sarah was selected to join the program. Their project focuses on the cervix, investigating the potential anti-microbial effect of endocannabinoids (molecules that bind to cannabis-specific receptors) against cervical infections.

"Being part of a joint project has greatly benefitted both of us. Each of us brings different skills and methods to the project: Muna through her knowledge of pharmaceutical formulations and microbiology and Sarah’s ability to develop computerized tools for analyzing biological/microbiological data. By working together, we are able to provide new insights and research previously unexplored avenues."

Muna’s doctoral research, under the supervision of Prof. Steinberg and Prof. Michael Friedman, focuses on the use of cannabis-based pharmaceuticals to disrupt cell-cell communication, with the hope of reducing the virulence of bacterial biofilms. 

Sarah’s doctoral research, under the supervision of Prof. Steinberg and Dr. Osnat Feuerstein, focuses on developing computerized algorithms for characterizing structural aspects of biofilms, with the goal of understanding their resilience to traditional anti-microbial treatments.

"Scientific research is defined by its collaborative and interdisciplinary nature. We believe ourselves obligated to foster those relationships by sharing our research and supporting our peers. STEP does precisely that: pairing scientists from different backgrounds leads not only to short-term scientific collaborations, but to - long-term relationships that in our case will undoubtedly last for many years ahead. We are thankful for STEP-GTP for supporting young scientists and promoting Israeli-Palestinian partnerships – in these troublesome times their support is invaluable."

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Graduate Programs in Social Sciences

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Scholarships for the Advanced Graduate Studies Program

The Advanced Graduate Studies Program (AGSP) maintains the highest standard of education in the Social Sciences while significantly cutting the length of graduate studies—thus lowering dropout rates and keeping Israel's best and brightest at home.

Due to shorter, more concentrated and better funded graduate programs abroad, many of Israel’s top students are leaving Israel to complete PhD programs in North America or Europe. The Advanced Graduate Studies Program (AGSP) works to minimize the effect of “brain drain” on Israeli society by creating a comprehensive program that mimics the concentrated model of foreign institutions while retaining the extended one-on-one mentorship between student and adviser that characterizes Israeli doctoral studies.

The AGSP condenses the entire graduate process into a cohesive, full-time five-year program and expects the students to fully throw themselves into their research and teaching duties in order to succeed. Due to the intense nature of the program, students are not able to work outside of the confines of their studies and so AGSP is seeking scholarship support for its students that will provide them with essential financial support and long term stability.

Six years ago, the Hebrew University successfully launched a pilot in Advanced Graduate Studies in the Department of Political Science. We are now seeking to expand the program throughout the Faculty of Social Sciences, the top faculty of its type in Israel.

Following the initial success of the pilot program, the model has been replicated in the Departments of Economics and Psychology and it is now being opened and seeking student funding in the following fields:

  • Geography, Environment & Geoinformatics
  • Communication & Journalism
  • Statistics & Data Science
  • Public Policy
  • Sociology

 

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Shuvi Hoffman, Revivim Alumna and Pedagogical Mentor

Shuvi Hoffman

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Though Shuvi Hoffman graduated from Revivim several years ago, she still lives and breathes its educational values, as a pedagogical mentor working with the program’s fourth and final year students. 

Knowing that helping the next generation learn would be her life’s work, Shuvi enrolled in Revivim with three clear objectives in mind. “I wanted to develop academically and earn a Master’s degree in Bible interpretation; to receive superb on-the-job pedagogic training; and to grow as an educator with a broad set of Jewish and liberal values.” 

Now a staff member, Shuvi is responsible for mentoring the students as they transition from the intense supervision of their teaching during years 2-3 of this unique program, and their complete independence as teachers upon graduating from Revivim. 

Her job has both internal and external components. Internally, Shuvi holds weekly workshops for her students on campus, where they deal with broad educational, pedagogical, and teaching issues, such as class management, educational philosophies, the learning process, marking homework, interacting with students’ parents, and other day-to-day challenges. These workshops serve as a forum where the students can share their problems, discuss pressing matters, and obtain practical tools they can implement in their teaching. The tools that Shuvi imparts to her students include encouraging active learning, integrating the use of games in class, experimenting with role-play, diversifying their teaching methods, and managing heterogeneous classes. To further broaden their horizons, Shuvi invites guest educational experts to these workshops to expose the students to innovative teaching ideas. 

Outside the University, Shuvi conducts monthly observations of the students’ teaching, providing constructive criticism, guidance and support, and sharing feedback from the schools’ principals.  No less important to her is the end goal: preparing her students for finding suitable teaching positions and coaching them throughout their job search.

Shuvi recently delivered a webinar titled, Jewish Educators for the 21st Century.

"For me, educating the educators is extremely gratifying. When high schools principals tell me they are only looking to hire Revivim graduates, as they can rely on their skills and know-how, it’s a wonderful feeling."

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Meytal Blumenthal, Revivim Alumna

Meytal Photo

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Graduating four years ago from Revivim, Meytal, the first recipient of The Barbara Sieratzki Scholarship, still draws on the in-depth training she received to make her Bible classes meaningful as well as informative. Working in the prestigious Reali School in Haifa, her students hail from all over the country and include Christians, Moslems, Druze, and Jews. As a 12th-grade teacher and the Bible teacher, she pioneered the school’s elective program in Jewish Studies and has made it her mission to bring the Bible’s characters and topics to life for the whole student body.  

In Bible Morning, Meytal launched all 400 twelfth-graders into an unforgettable experience. During the two-week run-up to the event, the 14 students in her elective program took charge of whetting everyone’s appetite by posting fun facts and Did You Know? riddles about the Bible all over the school. With signs on water coolers about Bible stories at the well and notes with the Biblical source of people’s names on their lockers, Meytal heightened everyone’s interest for the Bible Morning itself. 

On the big day, half the grade enjoyed TED-style talks by various specialist teachers such as math and art, and even the custodian, who spoke about the Bible‘s connection with their own subjects. In parallel, the other half of the grade were “trapped” in an escape room designed to illustrate the most important events in the Bible, where they had to analyze the relevant Bible texts in order to uncover the clues. After both sets of students had switched and participated in both activities, they came together for the results of the competition, Did You Know in the Bible?, and a closing film in which she interviewed students and faculty about their favorite Biblical characters.

As for day-to-day teaching, Meytal acknowledges:

"Thanks to Revivim, I feel like I have 7 and not 4 years of experience. The visits to schools and intense teaching preparation gave me the tools and confidence to be an inspiring and effective teacher. One of my students just wrote to me, ‘Thanks to you, Bible is my favorite subject and I had tears in my eyes when I did the matriculation exam, as it marked the last time studying with you.’ That gives me the greatest satisfaction, to teach and to make an impact."

A Biblical Escape Room

During the Coronavirus shut-down of the schools, Meytal turned a problem into an opportunity. Realizing that her students lacked the impetus to review Biblical texts, she created an online escape room for them to bring the passages to life. In Free David, the students needed to peruse the Book of Samuel in advance in order to help King David run away from his rival and predecessor, King Saul, who was bent on killing him. 

Meytal divided the class into groups. By analyzing the passages correctly, the competitors were able to work through the moral conflicts and practical challenges that characterized this chapter in David's tumultuous life and assist him in escaping from Saul. Meytal reported, “Not only did the students enjoy a chance to interact with one another and relieve the tedium of remote, individual learning but they also studied really hard in preparation for this activity. Everyone wanted to win! Now they empathize with King David and are more committed to reading texts in depth.”

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Shlomit Hadas-Blonder, 1st Year Revivim Student

Hadas Blonder

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Shlomit Hadas-Blonder decided to be an educator and make a difference already as a teen, inspired by her teacher at the prestigious IASA school who was a Revivim graduate. Realizing then that she wanted to emulate the values he embodied – pluralism, excellence, and a desire to teach Jewish Studies and Bible, she embarked on a path taking her straight to Revivim. During her army service, she served in the Education Corps. She taught Hebrew to new immigrants and, as an officer, created educational materials for her unit. 

On her release from the army, Shlomit had no doubts that Revivim was the course for her.

"This is the ultimate place for receiving both an amazing higher education in Jewish Studies and connecting Israeli high school students from diverse backgrounds to their Jewish heritage."

Shlomit adds, “No other program in Israel for Jewish Studies gives its students a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and teaching certificate as well as hands-on teaching practice from day one. For me, another of the program’s biggest attractions is the caliber of my peers. Coming from religious, secular, and traditional homes, we all share the same ideals: to excel academically and to educate the next generation."

Shlomit is towards the end of her first year of studies. While her favorite classes were Talmud-era history and early Israeli literature, she enjoyed the preparation for classes and visits to schools even more.  

"Revivim gives me the skills I need to be an inspirational educator and improve society. By instilling in my students a deep understanding of their Jewish heritage and identity and motivating them to enjoy learning, I really feel they can become full members of society and fulfil their own potential."

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Revivim: Jewish Educators on Both Sides of the Screen

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In mid-March, the Israeli government decided to shut down schools and hold classes remotely. Around the same time, the Hebrew University announced the spring semester would also be taught online. With almost no warning and even less preparation, teachers and students suddenly had to figure out how to teach/learn remotely, using digital platforms such as Zoom.

The students in the Revivim Honors Teacher-Training Program in Jewish Studies found themselves on both sides of the screen: as students and as teachers.

A Virtual Field Trip

One such student is Naama, a 3rd year student in the Revivim program. Most of her classes are small, with as few as 6 students. As such, discussions play an important part of her studies. These spontaneous interactions are impossible over Zoom. Furthermore, her partner is also a student, and often they’d end up staring at their screens all day long. It got tiring.

Thus, as a teacher, Naama was conscious of what her students were experiencing. The second week of shutdown, the students were supposed to have been on a class trip. Naama decided to take them on a virtual field trip, based on the biblical passages they were studying. Using Google Earth, she mapped a route – starting at school and traveling north to the biblical city of Shomron (Samaria), today a national park. Equipped with hats, water, and snacks – they were off! Naama organized stops along the way, zooming down to ground level, using the 360-degree view, and explaining what students were seeing.

Thanks to Naama’s ingenuity, students experienced a creative and engaging lesson. In subsequent weeks she organized a digital treasure hunt, group discussions, and a writing assignment. Some of these were over Zoom, and some were self-directed study, allowing the kids a break from their screens.

Studying, Teaching, Volunteering

Another example is Lotem, who is in her second year of the program. When everything shut down, she moved back in with her parents in Petah Tikva. She found online learning challenging, since she enjoys sitting in the classroom and interacting with her peers and teachers. There were also more assignments, in an effort to keep students on track. Yet online learning also had its perks.

Lotem volunteered to coordinate the Petah Tikva operations of Lev Ehad, an emergency NGO that mobilized hundreds of volunteers to distribute food, purchase medications, and more. It was demanding, but Lotem could “miss” class and watch the recorded lecture later.

As a teacher, Lotem’s school decided against online classes. Instead, teachers gave weekly assignments and were available to the students for questions and guidance. Lotem teaches Mishna in a special needs class, and she worked closely with the homeroom teacher to ensure that her assignments would be the most effective.

A Biblical Escape Room

Meytal, a Revivim alumna and teacher of 12th grade Bible, turned a problem into an opportunity. Realizing that without face-to-face teaching during the lockdown, her students lacked the impetus to review Biblical texts, she created an online escape room for them to bring the passages to life. In Free David, the students needed to peruse the Book of Samuel in advance in order to help King David run away from his rival and predecessor, King Saul, who was bent on killing him. 

Meytal divided the class into groups. By analyzing the passages correctly, the competitors were able to work through the moral conflicts and practical challenges that characterized this chapter in David's tumultuous life and assist him in escaping from Saul. Meytal reported, “Not only did the students enjoy a chance to interact with one another and relieve the tedium of remote, individual learning but they also studied really hard in preparation for this activity. Everyone wanted to win! Now they empathize with King David and are more committed to reading texts in depth.”

A Breath of Fresh Air

Lastly, the Revivim program itself tried some creative teaching methods. Havi Levine is a pedagogical mentor, working with 3rd year students who are being trained to teach Bible. During ordinary times, one of their spring-time sessions would take place in the University Botanical Garden, for some quiet reflection on their role and strength as educators. After being cooped up indoors for weeks, Havi decided to require the students to spend some time outdoors. The students completed their reflections individually and met to debrief over Zoom.

One student, sitting outside by an olive tree, wrote:

"The olive tree is knotted and gnarly, which is precisely why it is so beautiful. Like the olive tree, I find that I cannot teach in a straightforward fashion; I need to find my own way forward. I hope that these things will make me a better teacher."

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Dr. Areej Sabbagh-Khoury: Sociology

Dr. Areej Sabbagh-Khoury

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Pinpointing the Point of Conflict

Dr. Areej Sabbagh-Khoury was born and raised in the village of Mi’ilya in the Galilee. She completed all of her degrees at Tel Aviv University and joined the Hebrew University following postdoctoral fellowships at Columbia University, New York University, Brown University and Tufts University.

Her research focuses on the political and historical sociology of Israeli and Palestinian societies. She explores the interactions between different aspects of Zionist history and ideology vis-à-vis liberal and social ideologies.

Dr. Sabbagh-Khoury employs unique research approaches involving a critical methodology of archives and oral history which is considered innovative in the Palestinian-Israeli context. Using these approaches, she further probes the collective memory and citizenship of Palestinians in Israel, with a particular focus on Palestinian women and the challenges they face in entering the political leadership of their communities.

"I feel that the Hebrew University aspires to have people with many different opinions and from different backgrounds. This fosters academic excellence and triggers social change."

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Meet Keren Dinur, AGSP Student

Keren Dinur

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Keren Dinur is enrolled in the Advanced Graduate Studies Program (AGSP) where she is on the direct doctoral track in political science. She explains the uniqueness of the program because it “allows me a special relationship with the faculty of my department, they have a huge belief in me and provide a real feeling of wanting to push us forward and help us along”.

For as long as she can remember, Dinur has been involved in youth work and education and AGSP has given her the opportunity to refine this passion in an academic setting. Looking ahead, Dinur hopes to pursue postdoctoral studies abroad. “My hope is to continue to develop my research on the process of political socialization among children and youth,” says Dinur.

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