|MERTON JEWISH HERITAGE PELO CLASSES SPEAK TO ISRAELI STUDENTS|
MONTREAL, FEBRUARY 18, 2013 – History was made recently at Merton Elementary School in Côte Saint-Luc. For the first time in the public school system, Jewish Heritage PELO (Programme de l’Enseignement des Langues d’Origine) students from Grades 3 to 6 met with their Israeli counterparts at Yachdav School in Be’er Sheva, Israel via videoconference and celebrated Tu B’Shvat together.
Tu B’Shvat is the holiday of the trees and children in Israeli traditionally plant young saplings in growing forests. In countries where it is too cold to plant, it has become customary to celebrate the holiday with fruit tasting parties called Seder Tu B’Shvat. They sample fruits grown in Israel such as almonds, figs, dates, olives, pomegranates, oranges and carobs.
The event went off without a hitch. Merton Principal Raizel Candib welcomed the Israeli students in Hebrew, The children from Merton spoke their parts in English and sang Hebrew songs that they had learned in their classes. They were accompanied on guitar by Gloria Stermer, the Grade 3 PELO teacher. The Israeli children spoke their parts in Hebrew and English and sang as well. ``It was truly moving to hear the children from across the world making the blessings over the wine and fruits and to sing songs together,” said Ms. Candib. “There was a true feeling of connectedness regardless of the thousands of miles between them. The distance disappeared because they all shared a common heritage.”
Thanks to the “Gesher Chai-Living Bridge” program representative in Montreal, Arlazar Eliashiv, and Hannah Eliashiv, the PELO co-ordinator at Merton, this was a memorable experience for all participants.
Michael J. Cohen