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Friedman CJE’s “School Twinning” Program Builds Bridges between Palm Beach County and Israeli Children


There is a famous quote that says: “If you want to change the world, start with the children.” And that’s exactly what they Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County and Friedman Commission for Jewish Education (Friedman CJE) have created with the Partnership2gether “School Twinning” program.

The program fosters connections through a two-fold mission: To create a relationship between Israel and United States students; and to infuse Israel into the curriculum of local classrooms.

“Our goal is to show that Israel is not just a place out there, but that it is a modern and thriving nation that is relevant to all aspects of our lives,” said Robyn Hurvitz, Director of Professional Development, Friedman CJE. “We want out students to feel a connection with Israel and ultimately visit and meet their ‘twin’ students in person.”

The program first launched in 2000, and was re-energized in 2011 thanks to the personal touch of a former Federation Shliach, Shlomit Zimring. With intimate knowledge of both the Palm Beach area Jewish schools and the Israeli school system, Shlomit helped participants develop a common curriculum, complete with goals and workshops. Today, there are more than 25 classes and approximately 300 students in Palm Beach participating. Ages range from Pre-K to high school and involve Palm Beach County synagogue schools, preschools, and Meyer Academy.

Temple Shaarei Shalom in Boynton Beach is one such school that partners with a “twin school” in Israel. A fourth grade classroom at the Temple partnered on a Tu b’shvat of “New Year of the Trees” project last year. The kids then raised funds here in Palm beach County to purchase trees for their “classmates” in Tzfat to plant at Ramat Razim School.

“The kids all love and embrace the opportunity to have friends and ‘classmates’ across the world,” added Robyn. “Our job as teachers and administrators of the program is to provide the tools and vehicles to continue to nurture and grow the relationships for the long haul.”

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