Rosh Hashana 5783 / September 2022

Dear friends and partners,

We are entering the new year with the launch of new initiatives for social mobility in Israel’s periphery, while continuing to advance the existing ones towards maximum impact and sustainability. At the same time, we have started a strategic process of refining Rashi’s focus areas and course of action for the next five years.

Over the past year, we worked to strengthen Israeli society in several key fields: education (with an emphasis on STEM), community resilience, prevention and treatment of domestic violence, and promotion of employment.

We now rely more and more on a city-based strategy, in light of the crucial role that Israeli municipalities play in providing cradle-to-career social mobility opportunities to their residents. Applying the “multiplier effect” of cooperation with municipalities and partners in the government, philanthropic, and business sectors, we are confident that the outcomes will prove to be remarkable.

We thank you for your partnership and friendship, and wish you a happy new year. May it be one that will take all of us on a journey of renewal, growth, and meaningful achievements.

Shaul Shani
Francois Leven
Michal Cohen
General Director

Communities of Practice in local government

This joint initiative with the Ministry of the Interior taps into the “wisdom of the crowd” – the combined knowledge of municipal administration teams – in order to advance joint learning and personal and professional development in local government. This is aimed to improve the quality of municipal services in Israel’s periphery.

In its first stage in each participating locale, the Communities of Practice initiative includes four professional communities in the fields of education, economic development, strategy, and digitization. Each community comprises 30-40 members who face similar challenges in their work, and who can enrich each other through networking and sharing of knowledge. Every community will also have a broader circle of hundreds of professionals who will contribute and access knowledge and best practices.

In addition to benefiting the community members and their cities, the initiative is expected to have an impact on processes at the national level that touch on issues such as the relationship between national and local government, work principles of local authorities’ staff, dissemination of knowledge in the field, and more.

Creating opportunities in education

At the start of every school year in Israel, the challenges facing the education system become the center of public discourse. We believe that building a continuum of quality education from birth to 12th grade is among the investments that can bring the highest social return. Our programs in this field are designed to give children and youth in the periphery the same educational opportunities that are available in the center of the country, both in the classroom and after school.

A few education initiatives led by Rashi and its partners

“The change is huge, both for me as a teacher and for the pupils.” – A homeroom teacher, Pedagogic Network for Elementary Schools

Pedagogic Network for Elementary Schools

Operated by a Rashi affiliate, the Tafnit Association, the Network offers holistic support to chronically under-performing schools. They undergo several years of intense work to upgrade their capabilities through pedagogic coaching for teachers, management consultation, and scholastic and pedagogic evaluation.

The teachers and administrators in member schools report that the skills and tools they acquire are significantly improving their work. Success is also evident in the students’ scholastic achievements. In one school, for example, the percentage of 3rd graders passing the year’s Hebrew literacy studies just went up from 37% to 71%. Among 4th graders, the percentage rose from 21% to 61%. In math, the percentages of passing grades increased from 40% to 70% and from to 65% to 85% respectively.

Having started with three schools in 2018, the Network has since grown to 11 schools last year and our next goal is to double this number.

Partners: the Ministry of Education, municipalities, the Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation, the Samuels Family Foundation, Benjamin S. Warren, the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, the Naomi Prawer Kadar Foundation, the Ben and Esther Rosenbloom Foundation, the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, and several anonymous foundations


Operated by a Rashi affiliate, the Tafnit Association, the Read More

STEM Ecosystems Community of Practice

The STEM Ecosystems initiative, through a partnership between Rashi and the Samueli Foundation, and together with several municipalities, implements a model of citywide educational-social ecosystem that prepares children for the educational and employment challenges of the future through an innovative variety of STEM learning activities. The initiative is now expanding from 5 to 7 localities throughout the periphery, and it is being complemented and reinforced by a new Community of Practice.

This organization will connect the existing ecosystems, while supporting the establishment of new ones. It will provide a platform for mutual learning and development of joint projects, as well as for promoting national policy and greater allocation of resources for STEM education.

Leading partners: the Samueli Foundation, the Beyachad Foundation, the Jusidman Foundation, the Gilbert Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland

The Read More

Early Childhood Leaders

The early childhood education and care system in Israel suffers from low public investment, a shortage of quality services for children and parents, organizational “fragmentation,” and lack of coordination between relevant government ministries. Changing this situation requires system-wide cooperation guided by a committed, dynamic, and creative leadership.

The newly launched Early Childhood Leaders program is a ground-breaking initiative aimed at achieving such change. It is designed to build a network of men and women in senior positions that influence early childhood education and care, who will work together to advance much-needed policy changes in this field.

Partners: the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Welfare, the Ministry of Health, the Prime Minister’s Office – Atudot Le’Israel Department, the National Program for Children and Youth at Risk, the Federation of Local Authorities, JDC-Ashalim

The early childhood education and care system in Israel suffers from low public investm... Read More

When we dream alone it is only a dream, but when many dream together it is the beginning of a new reality.
Friedensreich Hundertwasser, artist and architect