BOARDMAN, LIBERTY Israeli pupils, teachers visit two local schools
Youngstown Area Jewish Federation's Partnership with Israel is the local sponsor.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Five Israeli pupils and one teacher were matched with counterparts at Boardman Center Middle School for a three-day visit that culminated a study of the Holocaust.
This marks the second year that eighth-grade pupils in Jesse McClain's class have participated in the International Book-Sharing Project.
He said he hopes his pupils learn that "there's no difference -- students are students and parents are parents, some are just of a different nationality and different country."
Four Israeli pupils and one teacher also visited pupils in Gina Carbone's class at W.S. Guy Middle School in Liberty. The two groups of Israeli pupils spent part of Thursday and Friday at the two schools.
Other events included a social gathering Thursday evening at the Ice Zone and a Sabbath observance planned for Friday evening at Congregation Rodef Sholom, Youngstown.
The project is sponsored locally by the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation's Partnership with Israel.
The two Valley schools are among 42 in the U.S. participating in the program this year.
Stayed in homes
Each of the Israeli pupils stayed with their Mahoning Valley "twin," as the program dubs them, and their family. The group was to leave today and visit Washington, D.C., before returning home.
According to literature about the program, its goals include encouraging pupils to develop empathy for others and respect for different opinions, form relationships and learn about each other's worlds and more about the Jewish resistance during the Holocaust.
Pupils at the Israeli, Boardman and Liberty schools read "Island on Bird Street," a novel about a Jewish boy who during World War II is left to fend for himself in a dilapidated house in the Warsaw Ghetto. The boy's mother has died and he's separated from his father.
They then discuss the book online, answering questions and talking about their impressions.
The Israeli pupils who visited Boardman are from Ort Roz School, in Akko, Israel.
Boardman's visitors included Ori Manasherov, who stayed with BCMS pupils Mike and Matt McKinney and their family; Samira Ragimov, who stayed with Rachel Dugan; Inbar Edry, a guest in the home of Megan Smith; Natalie Lugassy, who stayed with Ariel Reid and her family; and Vered Danieli, a guest of Ashley Ramsey.
One difference between their school and BCMS, according to Ori, Samira and Inbar, is the size.
"This school is a lot bigger," Ori, 15, said.
While pupils move from class to class at BCMS, in Israel, it's the teachers who do the moving, Samira, 14, said.
"When the teacher comes into the class, everyone stands up," Ori said. "We call them by their first names."
The pupils' cross-cultural discussions centered on the book they read and the Holocaust, but they also talked about other things.
"We talked about everything," Inbar, 14, said.
Rachel, 14, said she learned about the different food and different fashions between the two countries.
"They wear the same things but they don't," she said. "They wear jeans, but they have different names on the jeans."
None of those differences seemed to get in the way, however, as the group walked the halls of BCMS, talking and laughing between classes.