Jerusalem Max Rayne Hand in Hand school
Pre K – 12
The Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School is Hand in Hand’s flagship campus. Since opening its doors in 1998, the school has been growing steadily. Today, it is Israel’s largest bilingual Hebrew/Arabic school and the country’s only integrated Arab/Jewish high school.
Hand in Hand has become a well known institution in Jerusalem, championing academic excellence through integrated education and shared community life. The Jerusalem school’s outstanding academic reputation, high matriculation scores, innovative methods of teaching equality and mutual respect have made the school highly competitive. Despite increasing polarization in the country, Hand in Hand’s waiting list grows longer each year with the names of families who believe in our model.
Jerusalem often represents a flashpoint in the Arab-Israeli conflict, but rather than teaching around the city’s complexities, Hand in Hand’s Jerusalem staff acknowledge them, inviting students to share their perspectives in a compassionate and respectful environment. In fact, the Jerusalem School’s civics course—regionally accredited by the Jerusalem Educational Authority—has earned a citywide reputation for being one of the most thorough of its kind, giving students a nuanced look into issues of social division, resource distribution, democracy, minority-majority relations, and more.
Our work at the Jerusalem school is guided by a transformative, values-based educational model that emphasizes equality, mutual respect, and empathy for others: teaching students to take an active role in improving society. Hand in Hand’s Jerusalem students graduate with over a decade of continuous practice living within a shared community, entering the world with exceptional interpersonal and communication skills, as well as high-level proficiency in both written and spoken Hebrew and Arabic.
Hand in Hand’s multi-generational focus builds a shared society that extends far beyond our current students and teachers, incorporating parents, friends, and alumni as well. This extended community is led by a steering committee comprised of local activists who organize events and programs aimed at deepening social ties and addressing community tension. Unlike short-term projects, the power of our model comes from the fact that it is fueled by the daily interactions of hundreds of Arab and Jewish students, teachers, families, and community members, all of whom recommit each day to actualizing this mission in Jerusalem.
The Hand in Hand Jerusalem community supports a community garden, art activities, parent and student sports teams, Arabic language classes for Jewish teachers and parents, dialogue groups, cultural exchange seminars, and many more recreational and enriching community-building programs.
In addition to this programming, annual holidays—both civic and religious—represent rich opportunities for our community members to grow closer to one another. To mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, for example, staff and volunteers brought together more than 500 parents and children to share in a traditional Iftar dinner. Likewise, the entire community looks forward the school’s annual Purim celebration, in which the joyous mood of the holiday brings people together in openness and laughter. Commemorating and celebrating national and religious events increases our community members’ inter-cultural understanding and empathy, deepening individual and collective bonds.
Community organizers keep everyone up to date with weekly emails with announcements about future events, photos, and recaps of past activities. Given the fact that Jerusalem is our largest school, this active newsletter is an important tool for keeping over 1,000 community members connected and informed. Click here to sign up for our monthly newsletter!