Mishpedition-educational family journey
Mishpedition (Mishpacha +expedition )is our new unique educational and social project that offers Young Russian-speaking Israeli families to explore Jewish community and history and to connect to their roots.
The project is a week long family journey to Lithuania for Russian-speaking Israeli families with children who are 8-12 years old.
One of our key values is continuity and educational process, therefore after their return the families will take part in a series of "Pay it Forward" activities during our Israeli Jewish holidays family events , a part of Tikun Olam, paying it forward to our community and Israeli society.
What is the mission and purpose of this program?
The main purpose of this program is to connect Israeli Russian-speaking families to the Jewish communities outside of Israel, and to give them an opportunity to explore their roots together, as a family.
Another purpose is to create an opportunity for the families to engage in a volunteering community activity as whole, giving an equal place to children as well as to parents, while celebrating Israeli Jewish holidays and connecting to Jewish values.
"Mishpedition" is week long (8 days, 7 nights) family journey to Lithuania during the summer school break. The program is unique and specifically created to fit the needs of families with children who are 8-12 years old by our professional educators team alongside the local partners in Lithuania, who will provide logistical and technical support. The program will include visits to synagogues and museums, meetings with a group of local Jewish families of similar age, volunteering activities and Kabalat Shabbat etc.
The families will expand their Jewish identity while exploring local Jewish history and culture and getting to know and volunteering in the local Jewish community and back in Israel, where we aim to create a positive experience for the young Russian-speaking families by giving them an opportunity to volunteer for the community in the context of Jewish holidays.
More and more organizations offer Israelis different opportunities to explore their roots, though most of them are created for students or young adults, sometimes children.
We offer a unique approach that gives a family an opportunity to explore their identity as Russian-speaking Israeli Jews together - parents and children in a carefully thought through and friendly environment.
Israelis are a traveling nation, many families travel together during the school holidays. We created an option that allows the families to have a great family vacation abroad as well as an amazing and meaningful joint adventure, that will allow them to learn a lot about themselves and their family members. We believe that this project will be a very successful one since Russian-speaking families are always looking for a deep content and meaningful activities for their children during the holidays, and what we offer is unique and specifically built for our target audience.
Another aspect of this project is volunteering, and unfortunately, volunteering in Soviet culture was often perceived as something negative, especially since all the volunteering activities were not really voluntary in the communist society. Even though most of the families we work with made aliya many years ago, and their children were born in Israel, they still carry these cultural codes that say that volunteering is mostly a waste of time.
We strongly believe that by creating an opportunity for the families to volunteer parents and children together in a very positive and non-formal atmosphere, in the places and with the audiences they chose themselves, we will help them change the way they look at giving to the community and create their own giving opportunities.
Another goal of this project is to change the involvement of Russian-speaking Israelis -to more active one.Seeing a group of young Russian-speaking families volunteering will hopefully change this perspective and give another families a role model? suggesting ways to volunteer and to be socially active as a family.
The first pilot group of 45 people (12-15 families) will travel to Lithuania in July 2016.
Though we already started implementing the "Pay it Forward" part of the project for our active families. Recently we ran our first event which was very successful. A group of Russian-speaking families came together to make Chanuka presents to the veterans club in Ramat Gan during the last Chanuka holidays. The gifts were purchased with the money we raised at our Sukkot event community market earlier this year.
There are volunteer activities planned for TuBiShvat, Purim, Pesakh, Shavuot and Rosh HaShana this year, and the following year as well.
How do you measure the success of your program?
After the first pilot group will return we plan to evaluate our project by asking the families to fill out our feedback forms that will indicate the level of their satisfaction with the program content, staff and logistics.