Virtual One-Day Madrichim Training Seminars
Are you expecting to staff a Birthright Israel trip this summer, or next winter? Do you want to make the most of this opportunity to offer meaningful experiences to your trip participants, and invite them to build a new community, or kehillah, with people who share their same values? Are you counting the days until you can board that plane and arrive back in the Promised Land? Well...we feel the exact same way!
We want to take all of that energy and passion and do something constructive with it. Our idea is to work with you to become even better prepared in your role as Birthright Israel madrichim (Hebrew for "trip staff"). As such, we will be working with our colleagues at the Birthright Israel Institute for Tour Educators, as well as our partnering Trip Organizers, and other Jewish and Israel educational institutions to put together a series of Virtual One-Day Madrichim Training Seminars for you, our North American (US and Canadian) trip staff.
These sessions are built to allow you to pick and choose topics that feel the most interesting to you. You can choose to register to participate in one, several, or all, of the sessions found on this website. And, the best thing is, these aren't theoretical lessons or things that will end up contributing to your growing Zoom fatigue. Rather, the seminars and workshops will be imbued with intentionality. In the purest sense, we are offering you tachlis, or useful knowledge. And, best of all, you'll get to spend time learning with your peers. Meanwhile, your teachers will be world-class educators who are leading experts within Birthright Israel and in the larger field of Israel education.
LEAD WITH INTENTIONALITY
The Hebrew word for intentionality, kavanah, conjures the term for direction, kivun. In fact, the term leadership itself implies we must know where we are going if we are to lead. For Birthright Israel, leadership with intention requires a sharp awareness, empathy, and compassion of our main "subject" the participants, as well as our other "subject" – the themes and experiences we wish to provide.
One of the best reasons to staff a Birthright Israel trip is that you get to experience Israel anew through the eyes of the participants. Every time I visit Israel with the program, it reaffirms my commitment to Israel and Judaism, but most of all it reminds me why I decided to become a Jewish Educator.
Rachel B - Madricha
AN EXERCISE IN MEANING-MAKING
We believe that it's important to continuously educate oneself and engage in finding new ways of becoming a better trip leader. Certainly, it's a worthwhile endeavor to re-imagine what our roles as Jewish and Israel educators can be. Specifically, in the role of Birthright Israel madrichim, everything around you is in a constant state of change –
whether it’s participants’ access to technology, their personal understandings and/or beliefs, or even the evolving social, cultural, political, and physical landscapes around the world, here in North America, and especially in Israel. Whatever the case, to be the best role models, mentors, and educators we can be, we must continually grow and evolve to keep up with the pace of things.
At the end of the day, the most consistent thing that guarantees a good participant experience is a great staff team. And, alongside the investment we continuously make in our Israeli Tour Educators, we know that we must also continue to support you, our overseas trip staff. Madrichim training now takes place in other parts of the world as well – including places like Argentina, Brazil, Germany, France, England, and the former Soviet Union. That said, approximately 75% of all Birthright Israel participants still come from the United States and Canada. And, we know that the best return on investment we can get is through your continued growth.
We hope that you will find meaning in these training seminars, and, at the same time, also discover a sense of community and inspiration within this online space. Of course, we then look forward to seeing you take all of this newfound knowledge and sharing it with your participants!
Establishing a connection between universal, personal, and Jewish values on a Birthright Israel trip offers participants a way to associate larger takeaways from their experience. The introduction of these values should be understood as being key linchpins in the success of the shared group experience. And, in addition to helping participants form the tangible memories which they will take home, these values will also act as their guideposts as they continue on their lifelong Jewish journeys.
"I didn't think my second time staffing would be anything special, but it ended up being the best trip yet. With each time you lead a Birthright Israel trip, even though you're a trip leader, you continue learning more and more about our homeland and our people. The most beautiful thing about staffing though, is seeing how Birthright Israel impacts the participants."
David B - Madrich
We are continually striving to improve what we do and expand the number of learning opportunities that we can offer. Thankfully, we have never been shy about testing out new ideas, piloting programs, or extending ourselves to offer you a chance to learn and grow. Keeping that in mind, our plan for these Virtual One-Day Madrichim Training Seminars is to provide you with a continuous stream of rich and varied encounters, which will inspire you to be the best possible Jewish and Israel educators.
Within these frameworks, there will be two constants: Our "Speaker Series" which will invite you to learn from world-class guest speakers, lecturers, and educators, who will offer you their wisdom, insights, and own pedagogical viewpoints. Included amongst them will be some of the visionaries and key architects behind the Birthright Israel educational program. And, in parallel to this, we will also host a series entitled "Sites and Insights" which will be led by our colleagues at the Birthright Israel Institute for Tour Educators. Through this seminar, you will have the opportunity to learn from Tour Educators and understand how they plan participants' experiences when encountering various sites on a trip (e.g. Har Herzl, The Kotel, Masada, Yad Vashem, Haas Promenade, etc.). In this way, you will be able to gain a 360-degree perspective of how the Tour Educator considers the landscapes they find themselves in, factors in the logistical challenges (and opportunities), and learn how they facilitate programs and frame discussions tied to the sites' relevant themes and values so participants will be able to form enduring connections to the land and people of Israel, and to their own personal Jewish identity.
In the weeks and months ahead, we expect to be able to offer additional program options that will enable us to come together and learn within a shared space. This may include some mini-courses (on various subjects) which would be cohort-based, require more of a time commitment, and be open through a selective application process. That said, the Zoom sessions currently listed are open to anyone who will be staffing within the next year. All you need to do is sign-up and register to confirm your spot in a specific seminar.