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Hand in Hand Jerusalem Shortlisted for the T4 Network’s “World’s Best School” Award

The T4 global network of over 200,000 teachers recognizes different forms of excellence around the world. HIH Jerusalem is named to the list of top 10 schools worldwide in overcoming adversity.

We are so excited that Hand in Hand’s Max Rayne Jerusalem School has been shortlisted for the World’s Best School award in the category of “Overcoming Adversity” by the T4 Education global teacher network.

The prestigious prize celebrates educational institutions that make a significant and long-lasting impact on students, their community and wider society. 

The Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School is our flagship campus. Since opening its doors in 1998, it’s become a microcosm of shared society and Israel’s only integrated Arab-Jewish high school. Thanks to the hard work of our teachers, stakeholders and community it has grown into an internationally respected institution, combining academic excellence with values rooted in compassion, understanding and equality.

Because Jerusalem is an emotional flashpoint for much of the region’s conflict, Hand in Hand is crucial in promoting our vision of a shared Jewish/Arab society through bilingual, multicultural education. The school’s location make’s its impact all the more tangible, and is one of the key reasons it’s been shortlisted for this wonderful prize. 

The school serves about 600 Jewish and Arab students from pre-K to grade 12. From four years old, students can start their bilingual learning and following a shared calendar of the three faiths of our student body – Judaism, Islam, and Christianity – with all holidays and occasions celebrated both inside and outside school. Indeed the Hand in Hand experience impacts much more than just our students; families and local residents can partake in one another’s cultures and celebrations, subduing friction and building compassion. 

We make no attempt to minimize the complexity of Jerusalem. Instead we use it as a talking point to discuss and reach deeper understanding, which helps build a respectful classroom environment.

As our ambitions have grown, so have our needs. In 2022 we moved into a new high school building to make room for the growing body of students and give our high schoolers a place of their own. The new building caters to the multiculturalism of the school, with a roof garden, a school auditorium, computer labs, a library and a designated space for alumni students.

“Our home is a place that attempts to create a sense of belonging for all people: Jews, Muslims, Christians, people from all different national, gender, and socio-economic backgrounds. We have built a home where everyone can feel comfortable to be who they are, for we believe that when I feel free to express myself, there is room for the other to do the same.”

– Efrat Meyer and Engi Wattad, Secondary School Principal and Vice Principal

Overcoming adversity is a huge part of our day to day efforts, and being recognized for this prize is a wonderful affirmation that our staff’s hard work is having genuine impact. Of course these are turbulent times, which is why championing Jewish-Arab partnership is more crucial than ever. If we win this award, the prize money will support our teacher salaries, amplify our syllabus, and ensure our students continue to receive award-winning education for years to come. 

We are so appreciative to the T4 Education network for recognizing Hand in Hand’s work, and are deeply grateful to all of you as well. Our vision and work is ever-more urgent, and we are glad that friends like you from around the world are joining us on this journey. We couldn’t do any of this without your partnership!

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