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.