In 2019, representatives from The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta visited The Weber School and Israel Programs Director Michal Ilai to discuss ways to connect Weber students and teens attending Ort Yokneam High School in Israel. From video conversations to in-person meetings here and in Israel, the resulting collaboration has helped powerful connections and a deeper understanding of Israeli and American Jewry flourish between the two communities.
This week, the connection was made all the more meaningful as Weber alumna and Shinshinit IL Amit Rau (Class of 2022) welcomed Weber students on the Abe Besser Israel Poland Experience to an evening program with ORT Yokneam students. To begin the program, Amit introduced two Ukrainian Olim (new immigrants) to the crowd. Complete silence descended on the room as over 70 Israeli and American teenagers listened intently to the Ukrainian students’ personal experiences since the war in Ukraine began. After Amit spoke about her experience as a Shinshinit in Israel, the American and Israeli students split into smaller groups to discuss cultural differences and commonalities before enjoying dinner together. After dinner, everyone gathered for a short commemoration for Eitan Force z“l. Israeli students passed flowers to Weber students, who were asked to pay the kindness forward by giving that flower to someone they’ll meet during the rest of their travels in Israel.
Kol Hakavod to Partnership Director at The Jewish Agency, Eliad Eliyahu Ben Shushan, Ort Yokneam Head of School, Ada Abercohen Shemesh, Ort partnering teachers, Weber teacher Michal Ilai, Weber Alumna Amit Rau, and our ABIPE guides Michelle Geppert, Dr. Rachel Rothstein, and Zachary Rich for creating this opportunity for our students. “From digital collaborations to physical encounters, when we teach about Jewish Peoplehood, this is exactly what we envision,” said Ms. Ilai. “The text messages, pictures, and calls I received from our students during the visit warmed my heart. They all spoke of their connections with their Ort friends and were so happy to finally meet their Zoom friends face to face.”
The Weber School, a Jewish Community high school serving students from all Jewish backgrounds, prepares students for success in college and in life with comprehensive academic and co-curricular programs that inspire student exploration, leadership, and Jewish social consciousness. Many of our programs and academies are unique to Weber and can't be found at any other Atlanta-area high schools.
The Felicia Penzell Weber Jewish Community High School admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.