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Meems Monday:A Conversation with AMIT and Ways to Support Them this Holiday Season
Can you tell us about AMIT and your organization's mission? AMIT is an educational network serving over 40,00 students in over 100 schools across Israel, 70% of which come from underprivileged homes or underserved communities in the periphery of the country. AMIT believes that every child should reach their highest potential. We know our students are the future of Israel, that is why we put our heart and soul into helping them excel on their Bagrut, or matriculation exams, which leads to a prestigious army placement and really informs the rest of their career and lives.
Can you give us a glimpse into the scope of AMIT’s impact in Israel? With 96 schools and programs, AMIT is Israel’s only government-recognized network of religious Jewish education incorporating innovative academic and technological studies within a framework of Jewish values and Zionist ideals. During its long history, AMIT has served diverse populations, responding to the crises, challenges, and tragedies of Jewish history. Today, AMIT is leading the educational revolution taking place in Israel. Our innovative teaching methods, developed at AMIT’s Gogya teacher training center, place great emphasis on critical 21st-century skills, including teamwork, collaboration, problem-solving, and employing technology to the teachers’ and students’ advantage. AMIT is leveling the playing field so that children across Israel receive the highest-quality, Jewish values–based education and become productive members of Israeli society, ensuring a strong Israel today and in the future.
How does AMIT respond in a crisis and continue to support its community? AMIT’s Crisis management team conducts a thorough mapping of all their students and staff and assesses their needs and immediately takes action far beyond education. Whether that is sending meals, letters of support, setting up emergency housing and supporting any extended family needs. A special crisis management team has been appointed for the city of Sderot, with the understanding that the sites and experiences our students in Sderot are undergoing are unparalleled to those of our other communities.
Can you talk more about the work you are doing to support Israeli children in the aftermath of October 7th? AMIT is providing critically urgent support services to the at risk communities in the south – services that require ongoing funding. Supporting AMIT’s end of year campaign will enable AMIT educators and staff to respond on the ground and in real time to this evolving crisis. Expanded services include staffing staggered school schedules due to bomb shelter shortages; bringing in teachers from other regions to step in for those on the frontlines; alternating between in-person, hybrid, and fully remote learning; expenses related to setting up temporary classrooms and school facilities, increased tutoring; replacing school supplies, clothing, and computers left behind.
Can you tell us about your teachers? The AMIT teachers go above and beyond in every single way. AMIT ensures that there is a touchpoint to every student from some member of AMIT staff at all times so that if a need arises we can assist. We hear stories on the daily from teachers who arrive early to school or stay late to help any student who needs extra support.
What are some steps AMIT uses to create inclusive educational environments? Academic learning is being adjusted to be sensitive to students during this difficult time. AMIT’s holistic, student-centered Gogya methodology has been effective in conjunction with AMIT’s 1:15 model (one educator to 15 students), where students belong to a group, guided by an educator who knows them and looks out for their well-being.
Looking ahead, what impact does AMIT hope to make and how can our community contribute to these goals? AMIT has been invested in Sderot and an integral part of the community for more than 30 years, AMIT operates all 9 schools in the area therefore AMIT educators know each child from Sderot personally and are connected to every family. We are once again at a violent turning point in history, one where our Jewish existence is being challenged. But we will never be idle bystanders. Together, we will rebuild…one child at a time. AMIT is singularly focused on the critical mission of nurturing our children and emboldening Israel’s next generation. This is the time when they need AMIT the most.