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Six Israeli Teachers Awarded for Innovation in Jewish Education

Six visionary teachers receive awards for innovative contributions to Israel's state religious educational system.

A mathematics teacher who merged geometry with architecture for an engaging classroom project. A special education teacher using dolls for therapeutic purposes. A grammar school instructor initiating a communication simulation project to boost student confidence.

These are just a few of the six remarkable teachers from Israel’s state religious educational system who were honored last week by the Tzemach David Foundation for “excellence in innovative Jewish education.” Their groundbreaking contributions are shaping the future of education in Israel.

The first annual award, aimed at “recognizing and honoring visionary educators transforming the teaching landscape in Israel,” includes a cash prize of 25,000 shekels ($6,670).

Selected from a pool of 800 applicants, the recipients are all women who have demonstrated exceptional innovation in their teaching methods. David Magerman, founder and president of the Tzemach David Foundation, emphasized the significance of the award. “We created the Tzemach David Prize to identify teachers and schools that are creating innovative programs to enhance the quality of education in the state religious educational system,” Magerman shared. “We are proud of the Israeli educators and thrilled to highlight their excellence.”

Established in 2022, the foundation supports various Israeli educational initiatives, focusing initially on integrating English-speaking immigrants into the system. Magerman is currently directing $5 million in donations to Israeli higher education institutions, having shifted his philanthropy from U.S. colleges in response to the antisemitic protests on American campuses since the conflict with Hamas in Gaza began.

The award ceremony took place at Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum. “In light of current events in Israel, we were delighted to create a moment of positivity and light for the teachers, their families, and school communities,” said Magerman.

Tamar Krieger Kalev, executive director of the foundation, highlighted the importance of celebrating teachers as change-makers. “This prize not only recognizes these inspiring teachers but also encourages others across Israel to innovate and empower their students.”

One of the honorees, Yifat Amakias from Bnei Akiva Ulpana girls high school in Hadera, was awarded for “excellence in interdisciplinary integration” for her project combining geometry and architecture. “Being recognized at an event like this gives you additional energy to continue creating,” Amakias noted.

Tehila Yitzhakhi from Pisgat David School in Jerusalem, who was honored for her classroom simulation project, expressed her dedication to fostering academic and value excellence in the next generation of Israelis.

The foundation plans to make the top submissions for the prize public to benefit educators and their pupils across Israel.

Let’s celebrate the incredible work of Israeli educators and their dedication to innovation in education. Share this story and subscribe to our newsletter for more uplifting news from Israel.