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Tanach initiative

Upgrading the level of Bible education in secular schools to ensure the Bible’s relevance and contribution to a rich Israeli-Jewish identity 

The Tanach Initiative is a pioneering effort to vastly improve the way the Hebrew Bible - the foundational Jewish text - is taught in secular Israeli schools. The program aims to make Bible meaningful and relevant for students, encouraging a sense of ownership over their Jewish heritage, regardless of their way of life and religious orientation. In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the program trains outstanding Bible teachers, developing their personal and professional worldview by positioning the Bible within the context of Israeli-Jewish identity and the teacher’s role in promoting identity discourse.  


In 2018-19, we established foundations for a scalable program. During this pilot year, the MoE identified and selected more than 40 outstanding Bible teachers from across Israel for intensive training comprised of weekly regional seminars and monthly seminars at the Hartman Institute. SHI facilitators - veteran educators and scholars - offered the teachers guidance, emphasizing the development of innovative teaching methods. These teachers will go on to strengthen Tanach education in their schools by recruiting and training additional teachers from their schools and regions in an official MoE-funded training course for Tanach instruction.

“During our weekly study sessions as a group and in hevruta, I felt myself deepening my knowledge and developing professionally as an educator. The shared discourse and the study with teachers with different views and extensive knowledge who each brought their own strengths led me to new and sometimes groundbreaking ways of thinking and learning.

"As a result of my participation in the program, my self-confidence has increased, and I have a lot more knowledge, greater ability to respond to students, and increased motivation to apply ideas on the ground. My students are now full participants in the learning process, they study in havruta, and then each group teaches what they learned to their peers. I try to find a way to address issues that are relevant to what is happening in students’ lives outside school through the world of the Bible.”- Nathalie Illuz, Tanach Initiative Southern District Training Cohort 2018-19

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