The BJF’s E-pal program is expanding in Birmingham. E-pals is an initiative directed through The BJF’s Israel Connections Committee (ICC). Begun in 2007, E-pals connects 7th and 8th graders from the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, Ossie Ware Mitchell Middle School (a Birmingham city school) and Berry Middle School (a Hoover school) with peers from two middle schools in Birmingham’s Israeli Sister City Rosh Ha'ayin. The students email back and forth through the use of “wikispaces” created by Jerusalem Educator's Technology Solutions (JETS). Last year approximately 120 students, on both sides of the ocean, emailed back and forth “e-chatting” about their lives, school and their community heroes.
This school year E-pals welcomes a fourth Birmingham school to the program. John Mark Edwards, an educator at Phillips Academy will be offering the E-pal program to his students. John Mark teaches 7th grade Civics and World Geography. In an email to the BJF’s Director of Overseas Programs, Joyce Spielberger John Mark wrote about his excitement in joining the E-pal program saying; “I believe that the program will expand the students ‘world view, stretch their minds, and give them an opportunity to learn about and alongside students living in Israel.”
John Mark is pictured with ICC Chair and N.E. Miles Jewish day School educator Sheri Krell. John Mark and Sheri participated in a video conference E-pal orientation this summer with Rabbi Joel Cohn and Semadar Goldstein of JETS who can be seen on the TV monitor. Semadar and Rabbi Cohn are based in Israel. E-pals and video conferencing are just two wonderful examples of how The BJF is using technology to deepen the relationship between our community and our brothers and sisters in Israel.
For more information about E-pals or the programs of the Israel Connections Committee contact Samantha Dubrinsky at email@example.com or 879-0418.