Monday, May 17, 2010

Living and Loving the Land of Israel

Before the Pesach vacation, the entire student body of Orot took a field trip to the mountains of the Lower Galilee, the Atzmon Mountain and the remains of the Yishuv Yodfat. We chose to concentrate on a track with medium difficulty, which included climbing the Atzmon Mountain (547 meters). The top of the mountain overlooks the amazing view of the Beit Netufa valley, the area of the Tzippori yishuv, Hoshaya, Beit Rimon and the Nazareth range from the south. The track included walking in the Mediterranean Sea vegetation and an amazing spring blossoming.
After a rest, the students descended the Atzmon Mountain towards Yodfat. Yodfat is an important city from the end of the 2nd Temple that refused to the surrender to the Romans as other cities had, and chose to fight bravely instead. Sadly, the battle concluding with Zippori's fall at the hands of Roman conquerors on their way to the oppression of the rebellion and the destruction of Jerusalem (in the year 70).
The fieldtrip was led by the 1st year students of Orot's Department of Eretz Yisrael Studies, who were thoroughly prepared by their teachers Dr. Yitzhak Sapir and Naama Bindiger.
Why does Orot insist on conducting field trips for the entire student body? If you don't live the Land of Israel, you can't love the Land properly. And, without that love, how will a teacher communicate the value of Eretz Yisrael to her students in the future? These field trips strengthen and develop the relationship of Orot's students with the Land of Israel, its landscapes and heritage, so that when they become teachers, they will appreciate the importance of field trips in the Israeli school system, and convey the value, beauty and holiness of the Land to the next generation of children.

Taking Responsibility to Prevent the Next Accident

by Dr. Michal Unger, coordinator of the Road Safety Education the Orot College of Education

Schools across Israel place great emphasis on road safety education, investing many hours of class time to train students to function effectively in traffic, teach them principles of behavior based on personal responsibility and instill values of commitment to maintaining human life and respect for traffic laws.
This year, Michlelet Orot conducted two "Road Safety Education" seminars which focused on the themes of personal responsibility and the importance of both awareness and the need to educate the next generation about road safety.
Rabbi Prof. Neria Guttel, President of Orot College opened the series with a talk about, "Caution on the Road – Theory and Practice", as he discussed halachic topics related to issues of road safety. Next, Dr. Dan Link, head of the infrastructure and traffic department at the National Road Safety Authority spoke on the topic, "Personal Involvement in Road Accidents". With the aid of a visual presentation, Dr. Link demonstrated that each student had the power to prevent a traffic accident. A short film titled, "Children Have No Brakes", added a powerful audio-visual message about the road dangers that pose a danger to children.
After a short break, the students heard an emotional talk from Yishai Meir, father of Yaara ע"ה who was killed in a traffic accident. Yaara was in a car on her way home when an exhausted driver collided with the car in which she was riding a short distance from her home. Yishai, Yaara's father, described the solace he finds in perpetuating her name by describing her good qualities and amazing skills. After his talk Yishai distributed Yaara's photo to the students.
The seminar concluded with a viewing of the film, "An Accident in the Arava Desert" that portrays the final minutes of four boys killed on the Arava road in 1994. A follow-up discussion attempted to understand some of the underlying causes for road accidents and how they could have been avoided.