17th annual CIE/ISMI
Educator Workshop on Modern Israel
June 24-28, 2018 (tentative dates)

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Sponsored by The AVI CHAI Foundation  | Atlanta, Georgia | June 24-28, 2018 (tentative dates)
History, Culture and Politics on Modern Israel [Grades 5-12]


2017 Photos | Previous Participating Schools | EvaluationsTestimonials

Building upon the previous successes of the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel (ISMI), CIE now offers the CIE/ISMI Educator Enrichment Workshop on Modern Israel: a week-long opportunity for educators and educational leaders to deepen their understanding of Israel’s history, politics, economy and culture, while cultivating participants’ skills in classroom application and best practices. After collaborating with experts and peers, and honing their instructional practices, Educator Enrichment Workshop alumni are uniquely positioned to foster understanding of the significance of Zionism and the State of Israel in Jewish and world history for generations of students.

About the Workshop

The CIE one-week workshop offers a comprehensive understanding of modern Israel and provides a wide array of tools for curriculum development and teaching. Workshop sessions are designed to reflect the needs of our cohorts attending, whether adding content or providing additional teaching ideas for curriculum and lesson plan development. Leading the educator workshop are experienced curriculum, academic, and content specialists from Israel and the United States. Sessions are conducted from Sunday afternoon until Thursday afternoon. Each day is filled with content, curriculum development sessions, and time for reflecting and processing ideas culled. We anticipate that each teacher will leave the workshop with newly developed Israel curriculum materials, and encourage participants to bring previously created Israel curriculum to the workshop for assessment and possible augmentation.


Topics covered in the workshop include: the biblical connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, modern Jewish history to the origins and development of modern Zionism, the growth of the Yishuv, Israeli foreign policy, development and workings of Israel’s political system, Israeli music and literature, domestic issues that confront a maturing Israel society such as civil liberties and national security, religion and society, social issues, the US-Israel relationship, Israel’s role in regional and international politics, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Israeli economy. Accompanying pedagogy sessions enrich a teacher’s ability to take new information directly into their classroom. These include sessions on experiential teaching methods and the use of technology in the Israel learning classroom.

Who Should Apply

We encourage teachers who have a direct impact on students to apply for the limited number of available positions. The workshop is geared for teachers in day schools as well as supplemental and congregational schools, teaching 5th through 12th grades. Historically, more than 80 percent of the participants attending are in daily classroom contact with students. Education specialists in experiential settings, such as JCC educational directors and lead administrators from BJEs, are also encouraged to submit applications. They should demonstrate in their applications that they directly affect insertion of Israel content into their institution’s curriculum and instructional lesson plans. Where possible, we seek enrollment from two or more teachers from one school, in an effort to develop an Israel spiral curriculum. This year, for the first time, because of a special stipulation received for day school educators, we are opening registration to previous workshop participants from day schools who apply as part of a cohort from their day school. We have found our workshops to be applicable to various types of educators, and therefore accept applications from Jewish and non-Jewish teachers, those who do not speak Hebrew to native speakers born or educated in Israel. Workshop alumni stay up to date by registering for CIE updates, and sharing lesson plans and best practices with a very large cohort of Jewish educators across the continent and beyond.


To participate, teachers must submit a completed application form along with a commitment letter from their headmaster or director of education certifying that information about Israel learned at the workshop will be incorporated into new or existing courses, according to the needs and demands of the school and grade. Participants are required to stay onsite for the duration of the entire workshop, from noon on Sunday to the last session on Thursday evening.

Application and Fees

Applications are accepted on a first come/first considered basis, with the exception of those applying as a cohort. Each teacher must submit a $150 application fee and is responsible for his/her own air and ground travel expenses. A special travel stipend of up to $250 is available to each participant. Submission of original travel receipts is required within ten days of the workshop’s completion for use of the special travel stipend. All other workshop costs, including meals, hotel accommodations, and reproduction of resource materials, will be covered by generous grants from the workshop sponsors. Kosher dietary laws are observed.

History of One-Week Workshops

In 1998 at the request of the headmaster of the Greenfield Hebrew Academy in Atlanta, I was asked to assist in the construction of a course on modern Zionism/Israel for the graduating seventh grade. Over time the one-time engagement evolved into several day workshops about modern Israel’s formation provided initially to Atlanta area and Georgia Jewish teachers. By 2003, it had expanded to include teachers from around North America. In 2000, with his typical eager enthusiasm, Paul Reisman provided our initial grant for the first Israel education workshop. The workshops were organized by the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel (ISMI) with all funding coming from private donors, including the Zedeck Family Foundation, Schusterman Foundation, Blank Family Foundation and Marcus Family Foundation. By July 2008, the Center for Israel Education (CIE) was created as a separate 501c3 entity primarily to choreograph the one-week workshops and engage in other Israel education outreach activity beyond ISMI.
In 2003, The AVI CHAI Foundation, under the distinguished leadership of Yossi Prager, approached ISMI/CIE to underwrite the funding of the workshops on the condition that half of the teachers attending the annual workshops were from day school settings. The Board of The AVI CHAI Foundation is thanked for the faith they had in our undertaking to increase Israel education. Thanks are offered to the innovative skills and collective educational guidance provided by Sally Levine, Tziona Zalkow, Abby Chill, Anna Hartman, Tal Grinfas-David and Rich Walter. Their classroom expertise was carefully blended with the incisive annual presentations by scholars from Israel and the US, which included Asher Susser, Reuven Hazan, Uri Bialer, Paul Rivlin, Michael Berger and David Menashri. I continue to anchor the modern history and international relations portions of the annual workshops. Throughout our broadening excursions into pre-collegiate and collegiate Israel education, ISMI and CIE were fortunate to have the unwavering support of the Marcus Family Foundation, and particularly its Executive Director, Jay Kaiman, and his associate, Daniel Sperling. Private donors and foundations that seek to retain their anonymity were zealous in their support of our work. These donors provided the means to travel across North America providing professional development days and congregational workshops. Through these experiences we listened to what teachers wanted and needed, which in turn helped shape portions of this website and constantly revised our annual one-week workshop. At the center of the workshop’s evolution were Diane Rieger, Heather Waters, and dozens of student interns who prepared materials and helped unfold the choreography of learning engagements. To the current and past ISMI/CIE staff, Roni Eshel, Michael Blau, Ana Fuchs, Daniel Mervis and Eli Sperling, thanks are extended to you particularly and others for your dedication and hard work in the field of Israel education.

For more information, contact workshop coordinator Heather Waters: Click Here