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Classrooms Without Borders

Program Overview

Back by popular demand!

Classrooms Without Borders is once again offering a professional development travel seminar to Israel for local STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) educators.

Why have we chosen Israel as the destination for our STEM seminar?

Although less than 70 years old, with a population of 8 million and smaller than New Jersey, the modern State of Israel has become one of the global leaders in the world of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). According to Wikipedia, "The percentage of Israelis engaged in scientific and technological inquiry, and the amount spent on research and development (R&D) in relation to Gross National Product (GDP), is the highest in the world....Israel boasts the highest number of scientists, technicians, and engineers per capita in the world..."

Israel is also a place where one can view and learn about technological innovations in antiguity. In Jerusalem, for example, you can traverse a 3800 year old water conduit (dry) and a 2700 year old channel (wet), both of which were designed by ancient engineers and scientists to protect the city's water resources.

The organizers, funders and educators behind this travel seminar deeply believe that leading American educators and corporate leaders can benefit dramatically from a serious, in-depth educational journey to Israel. Nowhere else in the world can a combination of STEM opportunities be found in such a concentrated area. Israel boasts leading universities, innovative STEM corporations, and world-class STEM and educational research facilities.

The main aim of this program is to facilitate a conversation and exchange of ideas between top notch US (Pittsburgh) technology and educational leaders and their Israeli counterparts. We know that the mutual and reciprocal exposure to programs and the people behind them will engender creativity, knowledge and cross-fertilization of ideas. Relationships – professional and personal – stemming from a common goal – to improve our educational systems, environments and productivity – are another important purpose behind this seminar.

Classrooms Without Borders' primary focus since its inception has been to take educators and honors students on travel seminars to Israel, Poland and Berlin. We are now at a stage where it is important to show educators world-class examples of STEM activities and resources and to assist and empower the returning seminar participants to integrate their new perspectives and knowledge in the classroom and other professional opportunities.

The primary focus of CWB since its inception has been to take educators and honors students on travel seminars to Israel, Poland and Germany. We are now at a stage where it is important to show educators world-class examples of STEM activities and resources and to assist and empower the returning seminar participants to integrate their new perspectives and knowledge in the classroom and other professional opportunities.

Classrooms Without Borders heavily subsidizes educators currently employed in public, parochial and independent schools.

Monday June 29th –Depart to Tel-Aviv

Tuesday June 30th – Introduction to Land of Israel
Sites: Neot Kedumim, Caesarea National Park, Haifa
We will begin our sojourn in a special nature reserve located between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem – in Neot Kedumim (which means "an ancient oasis"). At the reserve, we will learn about some of the agricultural techniques used in antiquity and will participate in a special hands-on leadership exercise. Following lunch en route, we will travel to the ancient city of Caesarea Maritima. Here, Herod the Great defied nature two thousand years ago and built an artificial port 500 yards out into the open sea utilizing hydraulic cement. In addition to touring the ancient Roman city with its theater, amphitheater, port and hippodrome, we will visit a section of the aqueducts and examine the Roman engineering techniques developed to bring water from long distances. We will arrive in Haifa in the early evening and after checking into the hotel, we will take a short walking tour to get a feel for the city and the region's geography. Time allowing, we will see a part of the famous hanging Bahai gardens and through the German Colony in Haifa.
**Both lunch and dinner are included.
Overnight: Haifa

Wednesday July 1st - North
Sites: The Reali Hebrew School, Technion Israel Institute of Technology , Hecht Museum – U. of Haifa
We begin the morning with a visit at the top math and science school in Israel, the Reali Hebrew School (two IDF Chiefs of Staff are graduates) to interact with the staff and to learn about mutual challenges (and perhaps mutual solutions) surrounding STEM education. From there we will go to the Technion – Israel's version of MIT. Our tour here will focus both on teacher training for STEM as well as seeing some of the cutting edge technologies worked on in the institute – including robotics, Space technologies, etc. In the afternoon we will go to the Hecht Museum in Haifa University and explore ancient technologies with a focus on maritime culture as well as learning about how the educational department works with the variety of groups that visit the museum.
**Lunch on your own (at the Technion), dinner is included.

Overnight: Haifa

Thursday July 2nd – North
Sites: Nazareth, Sapir Site, Tel Chai College (science outreach program), Metullah
Beginning the day with an early departure, we will travel to Nazareth to visit the largest church in the Middle East – the Church of the Annunciation. This major Catholic church designates the place where the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was pregnant – "And the Word became Flesh". Driving further east to the north-west corner of the Sea of Galilee, we will visit the Sapir site where fresh water is pumped from -214 meters below sea level up to sea level to be treated and connected into Israel's national water carrier. Our tour here will be the starting point of an exploration of Israel's innovative approach to its water economy. In addition to looking at the scientific and technological elements of the system, we will also devote time to its geo-political aspects. Continuing further north, we will go to Tel Chai College to learn about their special science outreach program to the weaker socio-economic populations in the general region. Driving a bit more, we will reach the Israeli-Lebanese border in the town of Metullah. From an overlook above the town, we will look deep into Lebanon and discuss the relations between the two countries in recent years and where they might be going in the future.
In the evening we will have our first debriefing session at the Kibbutz where we will be lodging.
**Lunch on your own, Dinner included- Decks Restaurant
Overnight: Kibbutz Ma'agan

Friday July 3rd - North
Sites: Christian Sites on the Sea of Galilee, Misgav - robotics project, R&R at the Sea of Galilee, Kabbalat Shabbat in Misgav region with home hospitality
The morning will be devoted to learning and exploring the primary sites along and around the Sea of Galilee that relate to Jesus' three year Galilean Ministry, including Capernaum, the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes and Mt. Beatitudes . Called, Jesus' home town in the Bible, Capernaum is where Peter grew up and where Jesus was based during much of his 3 year ministry preceding his crucifixion in Jerusalem. One of the earliest churches known is located here, as well as the remains of the Jewish town from the late Roman/Byzantine period. The Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes is a German Benedictine Monastery commemorating Jesus' miracle of the feeding of thousands. Mt. Beatitudes symbolizes Jesus' seminal Sermon on the Mount.
Driving west, we will visit the community of Misgav in the Lower Galilee to meet students who will present their robotics projects to us. Returning to our domicile, we will have some free time to swim in the Sea of Galilee and to rest up before returning to the Misgav region for home hospitality with local families. This will be an opportunity to interact with Israelis during their traditional Friday night dinners ("Kabbalat Shabbat")
**Lunch on own, Dinner included – Home Hospitality
Overnight: Kibbutz Ma'agan

Saturday July 4th – Golan & Jerusalem
Sites: Mt. Bental, Umm El Kanatir, Mt of Olives Observation point in Jerusalem
Departing the Kibbutz early, we will ascend the Golan Heights driving north-east to an extinct volcano located close to the Israeli-Syrian DMZ. At Mt. Bental we will learn about the strategic importance of the Golan Heights to Israel and the issues that have been on the negotiating table between the two states in the past. We will also delve into the present state of affairs – the ongoing Syrian Civil War – including Israel's main concerns vis a vis Syria. Driving south, we will reach Umm El Kanatir - unique in Israel, this site is undertaking the complete reconstruction (with the original materials) of the 1800 year old synagogue that was discovered here. This is an opportunity to witness a special project in its advance stages before completion. Leaving the Golan Heights, we will travel south through the Jordan River Valley – in the Syrian-African Rift – until we arrive at Jerusalem. We will ascend to the top of Mt. of Olives to get our first view of the entire city laid out at our feet to the West.
**Lunch and Dinner included
Overnight: Jerusalem

Sunday July 5th – Jerusalem
Sites: City of David, Davidson Center, Security Barrier
Meetings: Stav Erez of JNEXT project and founder of Sif-tech center for young entrepreneurs, Elyassaf Ish-Shalom of PresenTense and a social business tour around the City center.
We will begin to peel back the layers of Jerusalem's history by starting at the beginning – at the City of David. – This is the historic core of Jerusalem, where human habitation began here some 5000 years ago. While it is the most intensively excavated site in Israel, the City of David excavations are also politically sensitive given their location in the heart of an Arab village in East Jerusalem. The past few years have uncovered a 3800 year old water system (Canaanite), a pool from Herod's time, the main commercial thoroughfare of Jerusalem from 2000 years ago as well as copious epigraphic finds. A new section of the antiquities was recently opened, enabling us to walk through the city's drainage system (2000 years old) under the walls of the Old City, taking us to excavations just south of the Temple Mount. An amazing site although it is quite challenging for the extremely claustrophobic. Part of this site includes traversing a 2700 year old water conduit (wet) that was constructed to hold out under an extreme siege mentioned prominently in the Hebrew Bible (O.T.). Emerging inside of the Old City from the original Roman drainage system, we will find ourselves in the Davidson Center. In the wake of the Six Days War of 1967, Israeli archaeologists began investigating and excavating around the base of the Temple Mount on Mt. Moriah. Here we have the place where Jesus turned over the Money changers tables as well as the original access point to the Temple Mount. In this archaeological garden there is a museum that houses one of the most sophisticated computer generated virtual tours of an ancient city that exist anywhere.
Following lunch in the Old City, we will meet with young local entrepreneurs and learn about their initiatives to create high-tech opportunities in Jerusalem. In the late afternoon, we will tour a section of the security barrier, both examining its technical aspects as well as the political/strategic background to its construction. Debriefing session.
**Lunch on own, Dinner included.
Overnight: Jerusalem

Monday July 6th – Jerusalem
Sites: Christian sites (Mt. Olives, CHS, etc), Israel Museum, meetings and David Citadel Night Spectacular
First thing in the morning we will focus on the key Christian sites in Jerusalem. These will include descending by foot from the top of Mt. of Olives to Dominus Flevit - tradition has it that this is where Jesus wept over the coming destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem – and on to the Garden of Gethsemane - it was here that Jesus contemplated his impending arrest and execution (sweat blood). On site is a special (modern) church that is sitting on the remains of an older 5th century AD church. Entering the Old City via the Lion's Gate, we will proceed to St. Anne's - a complex just inside the Lion's gate in the Old City with a very well-preserved Crusader period church (850 years old) as well as remains of Bethesda which is mentioned in the New Testament. From there we will begin our walk along the Via Dolorosa – Throughout Christian history devout Christians have come on pilgrimage to the Holy Land to walk in the footsteps of Jesus on his way to his destiny on Golgotha (Calvary). The Catholic version of this devotional procession developed in the middle Ages and is known as the Via Dolorosa or the Stations of the Cross – 14 stations in all – which begins in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City and culminates in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Christian Quarter - From a Christian vantage point, the most important event in the history of the world took place in Jerusalem – the crucifixion and the subsequent resurrection of Jesus. This historic Crusader (Medieval) Church contains within its precincts Golgotha (Calvary) and the site of the resurrection.
We will then drive to the Israel Museum. From 2007-2010, Israel's premier museum underwent a $100 million renovation. The result is a world class museum which competes with some of the best. It includes a massive model of Jerusalem circa 70 CE, the Shrine of the Book – containing the Dead Sea Scrolls, magnificent archaeology and Judaica wings, as well as a sculpture garden, youth wing and assorted modern Israeli and general art wings.
After the museum, we will meet with more Jerusalemites involved in jump-starting the high-tech industry in the City - Gila from Made in Jerusalem and Hanny Alame (high-tech entrepreneur in the Arab sector)
Following some well-deserved R&R, we will go to David's Citadel to experience the Night Spectacular there.
**Lunch included, Dinner on own.
Overnight: Jerusalem

Tuesday July 7th –Jerusalem
Sites: Temple Mount, Yad Vashem seminar + lunch there, Tsur Baher school.
Early departure to visit the top of the Temple Mount - One of the foci of sanctity in Jerusalem, this site is holy both to Jews and Muslims. Several Jewish Temples stood here starting from 3000 years ago until the destruction of the last one in the year 70 CE (AD). 1300 years ago, Muslims built the third holiest site to Islam here and the current structures on the mountain reflect the Islamic sanctity of the site. Today, the struggle over sovereignty over the Temple Mount constitutes one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Next, we will visit Yad Vashem – Israel's national Holocaust memorial – for a seminar followed by lunch.
If possible, we will visit a Palestinian school in East Jerusalem and learn about their integration of STEM.
In the early evening there will be a debriefing session
Free evening
**Lunch included, Dinner on own
Overnight: Jerusalem

Wednesday July 8th – Judean Desert
Sites: Qumran or Ein Gedi, Masada, Dead Sea
Leaving early from Jerusalem to beat the heat in the desert, we will travel straight to Qumran where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered at the end of 1947. The archaeological excavations here revealed the remains of an ascetic Jewish sect, known as the Essenes (or the Dead Sea sect), that lived in the area from the 2nd century BC until their demise around the year 68 AD. From there we will continue south to Masada – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There we will grapple with Herod's solution to the complete absence of water in the area as well as the Roman siege technology that ultimately conquered the site from its well-fortified defenders. Driving further south, we will dip into the Dead Sea - The lowest place on earth (-420 meters below sea level), the Sea is characterized by its salinity, it high mineral content and the low levels of "healing" radiation. Swimming in the Sea is a one of a kind experience.
**Lunch included, Dinner on own.
Overnight: Beersheva

Thursday July 9th – South and Coastal Plain
Sites: Amal Reut – Mahane Natan school (special technology and science program for Bedouin), Jack Joseph and Morton Mandel Children's Museum, Weizmann Institute , MindCet – Center for Innovation in Educational Technology.
Waking up in Beersheva, the capital of the Negev Desert, we will start off with a visit at a school that has successfully operated a STEM program to assist Bedouin – at risk youth – to complete their high school studies. From there we will visit a new children's museum that incorporates the latest technology to create a powerful interactive educational experience for kids up to 12 years of age. Still in the Negev, we will next go to MindCet – a center for innovation in educational technology. Driving towards Tel-Aviv, we will stop to tour the Weizmann Institute – Israel's top science research center in Rehovot.
Free evening in Tel-Aviv.
**Lunch included, Dinner on own
Overnight: Tel-Aviv

Friday July 10th – Tel-Aviv
Sites: Center for Educational Technology, Independence Hall, Nachalat Binyamin, Carmel market.

First thing in the morning we will visit Israel's Independence Hall where on May 14th, 1948, the Jews of the Holy Land declared independence after 2000 years without sovereignty. This took place three years after the end of the biggest disaster of Jewish (and maybe world) history – the Holocaust. Afterwards we will go to the Center for Educational Technology on the Tel-Aviv university campus followed by free time in the open-air arts and crafts market in Nachalat Binyamin and the adjacent Carmel food market.
Lunch is on your own in the area of the Carmel market
Before the festive Sabbath dinner at the hotel, we will have our final debriefing session - bringing it all back home.
**Lunch on you own, Dinner included.

Saturday July 11th - Old Jaffa
Sites: Old Jaffa + free time
Most of the day will be down-free time own your own. In the late afternoon, when the weather has cooled down a bit we will tour the Old City of Jaffa – One of the ancient harbors of the Holy Land mentioned in Biblical and extra-biblical sources, Jaffa is a charming city that contains churches and antiquities and arts and crafts.
** Lunch and dinner on own.
Overnight: Tel-Aviv

Sunday July 12th – Tel-Aviv
Sites & Meetings: SpaceIL, Google, panel at Mind Space (Education in the service of society – Sefi Atias (XLN), Josh Gottesman (TOM) and Roi Zikorel (Trump Foundation).
On our final day we will be visiting cutting edge projects and taking in some of the "Start-Up Nation" initiatives. SpaceIl is a project that aims to land an Israeli space craft on the moon (on a shoe-string budget). Google has one of its most important R&D centers located in Israel. We will get to see a panel of innovators who will present their vision of science in the service of society.
Lunch will take place between visits
Final supper at Maganda restaurant in Tel-Aviv
**Lunch and Dinner included.
Overnight: Tel-Aviv

Monday July 13th- Depart for Pittsburgh


STEM Israel Seminar 2015

Educators 2015