Hand in Hand picks up where the Ministry of Education leaves off.
The Ministry of Education requires every school in Israel to teach specific, basic subjects: language, math, history and science. The government provides guidelines for these subjects, yet each school is allowed some flexibility in developing or adopting additional curricula.
Hand in Hand's educational model is unique because it includes, in addition to the basic subjects:
- The teaching of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
- Educating for a civic society: instilling knowledge and respect for different cultures
The Ministry of Education's guidelines do not address these themes, or do so void of the complex, multicultural dimensions in Israeli society. Hand in Hand established guidelines for teaching these subjects through a committee headed by a former Ministry of Education curriculum specialist and teachers from each school.
The curriculum seeks a balance between many conflicting factors: between teaching universal and humanitarian values and the uniqueness of each people; between educating about commonalities between the two peoples and the conflicts that divide them; between creating a core curriculum and permitting individual schools to create their own educational environment; between material that the Ministry of Education requires and material generated by the uniqueness of our schools.
Religious education is a major theme in Hand in Hand schools. Judaism, Christianity and Islam have never been taught together in Israeli schools, because the system separates Jews and Arabs, religious and secular. Our curriculum sets forth the critical concepts and values as follows:
- Commonality and similar storylines in the three holy writings
- Interpersonal relations and interactions in the holy books
- The concept of monotheism
- Written and oral laws: how they are interpreted and passed down through generations
- The structure of the Tanakh (Old Testament), New Testament and the Koran
Civics education at Hand in Hand schools is complex. Our core curriculum addresses priority concepts while taking into consideration the conflicts within Israeli society. The civics curriculum includes citizenship, heritage and connection to the land. Topics are outlined as:
- Familiarity and connection with country, nature and society
- Obligation to humanitarian and democratic values
- Understanding and respect for different historical narratives
- Knowledge and understanding of relations between Jews and Arabs
- Creating a common meeting point for individuals, communities and the society
- Developing a culture of dialogue within the school
- The role of mass media in society