Israel & Global Initiatives

Back to School – Preschool, That Is!

They say “youth is wasted on the young.” I wouldn’t say it’s wasted on the young, but could be so beneficial to “the older set.”

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I know this, thanks to a recently opportunity I had to go back to preschool during a recent trip to Israel. While there, I had the opportunity to see the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County-funded 15-year-old American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) Parents and Children Together (PACT) program that benefits hundreds of Ethiopian-Israeli preschoolers in Ramla.

Thirty adorable, smiling children sat in a circle, welcoming us. School was ending for the class, and the children’s happiness permeated the room. We sang songs, participated in exercises, exchanged gifts and spoke both Hebrew and the international language of laughter. This flagship initiative puts children on the right track for integration and assimilation into Israel’s educational system. The program stresses interaction and conversational engagement, as “children are seen and not heard” in the Ethiopian culture. Additionally, Hebrew is not often spoken at home. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything (except maybe a return to high school to date the quarterback and ace my SAT's!).

R. Feldman

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