Habonim Dror North America


In Habonim Dror North America Today on November 25, 2009 at 12:12 am

By Anna Yankelev

Some of you may have heard rumors circulating about HDNA’s mysterious and revolutionary year-round tochnit developing in Eizor Galil. I’m here to confirm the news that you’ve all been waiting for and announce the arrival of the Philadelphia Ken’s newest addition, Project Kadima!

Kadima was first developed as a way to further the tremendous growth the Philadelphia Eizor has seen in the last few years by chaverim such as Brian Cohen, Alon Hafri, Itamar Landau and several members in Jewish education through peulot and social action projects. This past summer, Chaverim Anna Yankelev and Alon Hafri took on the positions of Rakazei Project Kadima, with Alon handling the technical aspects of the tochnit and Anna in charge of the chinuch implementation.

Anna, Alon, and Itamar worked hard over the summer to further develop the Kadima tochnit. The overall educational goals of Project Kadima for 2009-2010 were set to enable the participants to solidify their understanding of what it means to be a bar/bat mitzvah, especially in terms of their responsibility to their community and to social justice in general. The tochnit provides the participants with Jewish education focused on social justice, leadership and responsibility through informal, and experiential education involving hands-on volunteer work. The curriculum emphasizes how becoming an adult in the Jewish community implies not just being responsible for one’s personal choices, but also being responsible for one’s surroundings. Program participants explore their communal responsibility for their friends, their family, their Jewish community and broader society. Specific components of the program include:

• Deepening the participants’ understanding of Judaism by relating the lessons of Jewish history, and tradition to the act of taking leadership and responsibility throughout the community.

• Experiencing a variety of service opportunities in and around the Philadelphia area, both inside and outside the Jewish community.

• Designing and implementing a social justice project of the participants’ own initiative.

They opened the program up to post Tzophim, Bonim, and Bogrim (8th, 9th, and 10th graders). Once a month Tzevet Kadima (which includes all-stars such as Kali Silverman, Elie Shane, Talia Gottesman, Rachael Bowen, Hillary Kurland, Jordan Cooper, Danielle Gross, and Jillian Lipman) runs peulot for the 40-some Kadima participants, and once a month Kadima kids get together to perform community service. So far service projects have included things such as working in an urban garden with local children, and playing with children in a shelter for battered women.

One of the most important long-term goals of Kadima is to take the first steps towards a Habonim Dror run Hebrew school. The intense chinuch components of the program elevate the education of the chanichim to a much higher level than the traditional ken has been able to accomplish in the past, and we’ve been receiving incredible results from the peulot run thus far. We hope to soon see no separation of Kadima and the ken, with all of eizor Galil’s chanichim being able to reap the benefits of Kadima chinuch, regardless of age. Hopefully in future years, a Kadima like program will be run as a substitution for typical Sunday school education.

Another important aspect of Kadima is to engage youth unaffiliated with Habonim Dror. This year the program was targeted towards Galil chanichim in order to build a solid base in the community, but in future years, Kadima will be attracting other Jewish youth as a supplementary Jewish education program—a program that allows youth to identify with their Judaism and responsibility to their community, free from the stale confines of traditional formal Jewish education.

Project Kadima, with its intensity and frequency of the peulot and activities, is something any eizor should strive to adopt. If your eizor is interested in implementing a Kadima program, please contact Anna or Alon and they will provide you with any resources you need.

  1. Thanks for updating us on the progress of Project Kadimah. It sounds like its coming along very well, and the Mosh Eizor has its eyes set directly on you to see how we can use the successes and not-so-successes of kadimah to improve our own upstart service-learning program entitled “Anaf Hanafa”.

    I was particularly intrigued that you see the kadimah program as a potential “substitution” for a traditional Hebrew school. While I didn’t particularly appreciate my own Hebrew school education, I know that there are plenty of them out there tha have a lot to offer, and I think that Habonim currently lacks some of the skills and knowledge that would be necessary to function as the central Jewish educational source in our chanichim’s lives in as satisfactory a way as I’d like.

    The question I’d like to pose to the movement: What does Habonim need to do to get to the point where we could be THE source of Jewish education for our chanichim? What aspects of the current, traditional program do we have to learn from and how can we improve on them?

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