Signature Programs

Global Jewish Education

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Yoav Ben-Horin
Director, Global Jewish Education
In many significant ways, the Jewish people have been and remain unique, in history and at present. Not least: We have been and are, a “global” People, in profound ways beyond mere dispersion and diaspora. The British, French, Spanish and others have had global empires. But they have never been global Peoples. The Jewish People has been such for most of our history, interacting with and influencing a multitude of cultures, and in turn being shaped by these experiences. 

This identity provides us, as a Jewish school, with communal “mishpuche” in far-flung parts of the globe—and with a unique educational opportunity to explore the world even as we explore ourselves. de Toledo HS believes that high school is an ideal time and place to help Jewish teens develop a lifelong appreciation of, and connection to, Judaism and the Jewish people. Ultimately, this also creates a richer understanding of one’s self and one’s connection to a community and a culture. 

Our Global Jewish Education Department gives students an opportunity to experience and connect first hand with Jews throughout the world. Equally, our exploration of the Jewish world is a powerful way to explore and understand of the broader settings in which many elements of this world exist. Of course our primary commitment, our largest and most numerous programs, relate to the People, Land and State of Israel. But our perspective and engagement extend to Europe, Latin America, Africa; and wherever Jewish life exists. 

Our seven bilateral programs, spread over five continents, range in size, duration, age groups, and focus. Increasingly, they involve disciplines, departments, and faculty throughout the school — including the arts, history, languages, and science, plus a variety of individual and specific offerings in entrepreneurship, film, psychology, comparative government, comparative religions, and of course, Jewish Studies. 

These programs are tremendously valuable and exciting in themselves, but also provide a foundation for us to develop multilateral global collaborations and projects within the next two to four years.


List of 5 items.

  • Short Israel Exchange Program (SIEP)

    This program for 10th graders provides our students and their Israeli peers opportunities to encounter others and explore themselves as young Jews in two the most extraordinary centers of Jewish life in thousands of years of history. By creating personal and communal bridges, distant places come to life as students walk, feel, think, and engage with fellow Jews in an interdisciplinary experience. 

    In the fall, Israeli delegations from three Tel Aviv high schools — Ironi Tet, Lady Davis and Ironi Aleph — spend two weeks at dTHS, hosted by tenth grade students and families. In effect, we run three parallel SIEPs, with some activities, and most travel and major excursions, common to all three, and some specific to each partner school. 

    dTHS organizes visits to Los Angeles sites relevant to different aspects of Jewish and general life. Our own 10th grade students accompany the Israelis on some of these excursions, and also interact with them in classes and events at school, as well as in variety of home and communal settings. 

    In spring, dTHS students travel to Israel for close to three weeks, visiting the families of students they hosted here in LA in the fall. Our students experience an extensive and intensive tour, spending two days in Jerusalem, two in the Galilee, and two in the Negev and the area of the Dead Sea and Masada. No less exciting and instructive, our students become acquainted with vibrant Tel Aviv, the first "Hebrew" city in millennia.

    The SIEP is longer, and in essential ways different, from similar exchanges some of our students will have experienced. The two or more years’ maturity is enormously significant at this stage of teenagers’ development and capabilities. The age difference allows for a greater complexity of exposure, more sophisticated activities, a different level of independence, and different expectations of the students.
  • Extended Israel Exchange Program (EIEP)

    The EIEP is a challenging but also powerful program that is unique in the Jewish world. EIEP is an extended joint and reciprocal program for Americans and Israelis, affording an experience that is not limited to boarding houses, hotels, or university dorms. 
    The program is structured to combine rigorous academics with an uncommon degree of independence, responsibility, and empowerment. Tenth grade participants host Israeli peers from Tel Aviv for two months in the fall, and two and a half months with these same peers in Tel Aviv. Students experience life with their buddies as they live it, both in and out of school. 
    The Israelis visit Los Angeles in fall, during the most intensive period in American Jewish life — High Holidays — and encounter the rich and diverse environment of California and LA. Our own students visit Israel in spring, the season of Israeli and Jewish "national" holidays (Purim, Pesach, Yom HaAtzma'ut,l) and Memorial Days (Yom Hasho’ah and Yom Hazikaron). They are immersed in the vibrant modern city of Tel Aviv, and travel extensively throughout Israel. As they live and travel together, Israeli and dTHS students learn about each other, the features of their respective lives, and ultimately —by experiencing both similarities and differences — about themselves. 
    When our youth are in Israel, we create a school within a school at Tichon Hadash, such that our students continue with the dTHS curriculum, fully and in English, divided into the same sections as at dTHS. Upon returning to L.A., the students rejoin their regular classes.
    In addition, in order to ground and guide students cognitively, to develop each one’s ability to “connect (a plethora of) dots,” special year-long courses are designed to ensure that these young men and women take advantage of exceptional circumstances and opportunities, while keeping up with the academic requirements of their home schools. 
  • Spirulina Project

    Science and Tikkun Olam in Africa
    Recently, dTHS began a special project within its Science Academy. Our students learn to grow the most extraordinary of "Super Foods,” spirulina. They do so with equipment and methods that will be transferable to populations for which this resource can be a lifesaver on a significant scale. We are doing this project in parallel and close collaboration with Tel Aviv partner school, Gymnasia Herzliya. 

    Beginning in 2019, a group of our students and teachers (one from the Science Dept. and one from Global Ed.) will travel to a country in Africa along with counterparts from Gymnasia Herzliya. Uganda will be our likely destination in 2019 (South Africa, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Ghana are future possibilities). Together with our Israeli buddies, dTHS students will teach growing methods to local African peers who will then implement these methods in projects adapted to their specific circumstances.

    The course is open to all students who will be eligible for travel in the second or third year of experience in the growing and caring for this Super Food. Travel will take place during winter or spring break, or in the summer. 
  • Uruguay Exchange Program (UrEP)

    dTHS is partnered in a student exchange program with Escuela Integral in Montevideo, Uruguay, one of the largest Jewish schools in South America. Students are eligible in the 11th and 12th grades (Spanish is NOT a requirement). The Uruguayans visit us during the last week of January and first two of February, and our students travel to South America in the last week of July and the first two weeks in August. Two dTHS teachers accompany our students on the trip to Uruguay and Argentina.

    During the course of the students’ visits, each group lives with their respective counterparts, attends the host school for some activities and classes, and explores the city and beyond to learn about the local Jewish community, as well as the broader society and culture of which the Jewish community is a part.

    In South America, our students will spend two weeks in Uruguay, and travel for five days to Buenos Aires and the Iguazú Falls — the world’s vastest falls located on the border of Argentina and Brazil). In Buenos Aires, our students are hosted by families of students from one of the major Jewish schools in Argentina, Colegio Tarbut. 
  • Budapest Exchange Program

    Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe has come a long way since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, and nowhere more than in Budapest, Hungary, home to a Jewish community of over 100,000. Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, dTHS will launch a student exchange program with Lauder/Javne High School in Budapest. The program will be open to juniors and seniors, who will host for 9-10 days in January-February and travel for 20-days in March-April. 

    This program will be distinguished not only by location, history, and contemporary realities, but also by the role of teachers from both schools. Beyond chaperoning, guiding, and teaching our own students, teachers from both schools will collaborate in the design and teaching one-week mini-courses and joint projects in each other’s school. Exposure and engagement will therefore extend to more of the student body than just the exchange participants.
Located in the San Fernando Valley portion of the City of Los Angeles in Northern Los Angeles County. de Toledo High School is accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and Builders of Jewish Education (BJE,) and financially supported by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Jim Joseph Foundation.