December 20, 2007 – There is now a computer lab in Torah v’Hinukh (Jewish Girls’ School) on the Tunisian island of Djerba, thanks to a grant from Targum Shlishi and a working partnership between Targum Shlishi and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
The grant has helped to provide computer equipment, software, and instructor training for the small school. Torah v’Hinukh, which serves 130 girls and young women, is located in the tight-knit Hara Kabira community, which traces its roots in Djerba back at least two thousand years. Education is a key factor in maintaining the vitality of this vibrant Jewish community, the oldest outside of Israel. The communities in Djerba are the oldest continuous Jewish settlements in the world that have preserved a traditional way of life. As a result of Hebrew language immersion and an emphasis on both Oral and Written Law, the girls’ school and the yeshivot for boys are renowned.
The initiative will facilitate both teaching and learning by helping to introduce and create computer literacy in the classroom. A computer expert will train teachers and students in computer usage. It is anticipated that providing access to this technology will strengthen the qualifications of the teachers, as well as enrich the education of the students.
“Targum Shlishi recognizes the challenges of integrating modern technology with the ancient ways of life that have been practiced and revered for centuries by the Jewish community in Djerba,” says Aryeh Rubin, director of Targum Shlishi. “In supporting this computer lab for Torah v’Hinukh, we are bringing a powerful educational tool that does not compete with the community’s values (software filters will ensure that the internet access is appropriate), but instead offers wonderful educational opportunities to the students and teachers.” He notes that when Targum Shlishi was first approached, it was to support the teaching of sewing skills to the girls; instead, the foundation worked with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to make a computer lab possible.
The computer lab will be assessed over the course of the next year to determine its success. Evaluators will look at how teachers use the lab, and how that has changed or enhanced their manner of instruction. If the project is successful, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which is the school’s main source of funding and the only nonprofit working in Tunisia on behalf of the Jews living there, plans to expand it to include other Jewish schools and community outlets in the region, including the nearby mainland city of Zarzis.
About The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)
Founded in 1914, the New York-based JDC is the main overseas philanthropic organization of American and Canadian Jewry, and is based upon the notion that all Jews are responsible for one another. The organization’s mission is to serve the needs of Jews throughout the world, particularly where their lives as Jews are threatened or made more difficult. JDC has been active in Tunisia since just after World War II. For more information, visit the JDC’s website at www.jdc.org.
About Targum Shlishi
Targum Shlishi, a Raquel and Aryeh Rubin Foundation, is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website.
For Media and Other Inquiries
Contact Targum Shlishi at 305.692.9991 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.