MWU's Department of Education was established in 2003 and set the global mission of strengthening the Movement's Jewish-Zionist Ideology and re-energizing the Jewish-Zionist educational dialog in Maccabi or Maccabi-affiliated structures.
The Department has strengthened and expanded greatly in the last 14 years. Today, the Department has overall responsibility for MWU educational activity in Israel – both activity generated by the Dept. itself, and educational activity of MWU Territorial Desks – and over significant educational initiatives in Diaspora. The Dept. directs, assiduously monitors and supervises the Movement's educational activity, and promotes the growth of the Movement – in the establishment of Maccabi Tzair new branches, and the opening of new Maccabi chapters worldwide.
Benjamin Beny Speckman is President of Maccabi's International Education Committee, Amir Gissin is Chairman of the MWU Education Department, Dr. David Korenfeld is the Chairman of MWU Education Steering Committee, Rabbi Carlos Tapiero is Director, and Chen Dgani is the Assistant of the Department. The Department operates through the great generosity of Joe of blessed memory and Mariana Habie of Guatemala.
The Department's work via MWU's Regional Desks enjoys full cooperation and is fully coordinated with their Chairs, Committees and Directors. The Dept. enjoys guidance of MWU Director General Eyal Tiberger, and relies constantly on the assistance of various MWU Secretariat members.
EDUCATION DEPARTMENT SPECIFIC AIMS:
- CREATING MACCABI LEARNING COMMUNITIES: It is the Department's express aim to invigorate ideological dialog and discourse based on MWU's twin ideals of Jewish-Zionist Continuity and the Centrality of the State of Israel in Jewish life in Maccabi institutions worldwide. The Department's method is to create learning communities, meaning groups of Maccabi members engaged and connected to one another in continuous study and learning of the central issues and aspects of the modern Jewish experience. Of these, the most successful example is the continent-wide establishment in 2005 of Maccabi Tzair CLAM youth movement, which has staged 7 successive continental seminars, each attracting hundreds of the best madrichim from CLAM's constituent T.O.'s.
- LEADERSHIP TRAINING: Education Dept. has a main objective of strengthening volunteer and professional leadership in accordance with particular need perceived from place to place. It is the Department's task to step in, always aiming to develop self-sustaining and self-generating local leadership cadres, processes always undertaken in full coordination and cooperation with the relevant Confederation.
- ESTABLISHING NEW YOUTH FRAMEWORKS & MACCABI COMMUNITIES: It is part of Education Dept.'s duty to identify specific educational/ community/ sports needs in communities that can be addressed by new local Maccabi structures. Directly attributable to this: Maccabi communities in Miami & San Diego, Maccabi Serbia and many developments in the FSU. Working with each Confederation, the Dept. creates strategic programs with many other communities interested in adopting the Maccabi model, advancing both their interests and our Movement's agenda.
- MACCABI EDUCATION IN SIGNIFICANT EVENTS PROGRAMMING: MWU and the Confederations stage the Jewish world's largest mass events: Maccabiah, Regional Maccabi Games, big dance and theater festivals, etc. In cooperation with local Organizing Committees and Confederations, it is a function of Education Dept. to prepare Zionist and Jewish educational and cultural content plans for all participants in these events, including the general public. EMG 2007 in Rome was our first, and Maccabiah Chai ("Generations of Jewish Excellence") our second attempt to deepen and enrich overall "Maccabi" content and experience at our Movement's events. During the last two Maccabiot, Maccabiah 2013 & Maccabiah 2017, MWU Dept. of Education was in charge of the Educational program, which included a huge program that reached about one million youngsters in the State of Israel, and a diverse and rich educational program for all Maccabiah participants – which included Maccabiah Shabbatot, Israel-experience trips (our tiyulim), day and evening activities, exchange programs with Israelis, Bar/Bat-Mitzvah program for those participants who never celebrated that rite-de-passage, commemoration ceremonies, and more…
- "MACCABI MODULES" IN OTHER ORGANIZATIONS' EVENTS: Education Department identifies opportunities to inject content based on Maccabi values and activities as activity-modules other organizations can use, e.g. "Three Maccabi Days" module for USA Summer Camps. It is Education's Dept.'s function to prepare proposals to other organizations.
- EDUCATIONAL SEMINARS IN DIASPORA & ISRAEL: Education Department's top priority: Seminars designed to "Teach the Teachers", i.e. train our young educators, who embody the Dept.'s prime purpose of building a Maccabi educational training system in both Israel and Diaspora communities. We have conducted such seminars in more than 25 countries, always taking into account local requirements, and the total number of graduates runs into several thousands playing a very substantial role in shaping the Movement and forming the base of future leadership generations.
- ISRAEL PROGRAMS & MWU TERRITORIAL DESK MANAGEMENT: MWU conducts many Israel Programs for all age-groups — youth, students, families, adults & golden-agers – in durations of 10 days to 1 year, that produce our strongest results in terms of Jewish Identity, Centrality of Israel, connection to the Movement, etc. Planning, marketing & implementing Israel Programs with MWU's territorial desks in cooperation with Confederations and T.O.'s is a major Education Dept. activity. Some MWU Israel Programs repeat – especially our flagship "Tamar"-brand tour, study & volunteer programs – others are planned directly according to requirements of a particular TO or Confederation, or to meet needs identified by the Dept. itself. Virtually all Maccabi youth work aims towards Israel Program participation; hence, the Dept. is responsible for educational content of all curricula in Movement structures in Israel and Diaspora.
- MWU SHLICHIM: Education Dept. duties thus include selecting, training, orienting and assisting shlichim in the field.
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MWU Shlichut serves many purposes and has many responsibilities:
- Identifying TO's issues, problems and needs
- Setting local, regional or continental agendas, including projects for volunteer leadership, professionals, educators and activists, and coordinating activities in TO's for regional and continental cooperation
- Systematizing internal Confederation leadership meetings, especially to maintain existing projects, and advance new joint projects, and supporting organization of leaders' meetings
- Systematizing uptake of Education Dept.'s programs and concerns by professionals, leaders, subordinate shlichim, and activists
- Supporting efforts for Maccabi's top events, Maccabiot and Regional Maccabi Games
- Marketing & recruiting for annual MWU Israel Programs in the MASA frame
- Marketing & recruiting for short-term or special MWU Israel Programs
- Confederation connections & communications with the National Institutions, through their local representatives or directly with the centers in Israel, and with other organizations
- Organizing national, regional & international meetings on community topics
- Young leadership development through programs, seminars, workshops, lectures, etc.
- PRODUCING IDEOLOGICAL MATERIALS: Besides preceding every Festival, Fast and Commemoration on the Hebrew Calendar with Email Messages, the Dept. prepares materials for educational publications on many Maccabi topics, always endeavoring to maintain emphasis on Maccabi's past and ongoing record of significant Jewish-Zionist action. This output appears in MWU publications and websites, in education kits for Maccabi Tzair, Movement-affiliated youth structures, Maccabi modules for other Jewish / Zionist organizations, etc.