083013_mishmash_israelIt’s time to hit the books! As American students return to school this season, like their Israeli counterparts, they will study world history, math and science.

But there is one subject they won’t have — a subject core to the Israeli curriculum. Shelach, a Hebrew acronym for field (land), nationhood and society, is a hands-on tangible course that teaches Israeli students about their environment — the land in which they live.

Unlike American environment or citizenship courses, which are incorporated into a science or social studies curriculum, Shelach is a dedicated course designed to teach middle and high school students about the Israeli landscape. The curriculum features outdoor field trips, where students tour the country. During these trips, students study Israel’s unique natural environment, from how their water flows from the hills to the identifying features of an olive tree.

This year, The Associated’s Macks Center for Jewish Education brought two shinshinim,18-year-old Israeli emissaries, to Baltimore. Their Shelach course, they said, has helped prepare them to impart their knowledge and instill a love of the land of Israel.

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