Project Aseret - Update July 2020
Project Aseret in Numbers 2019-2020
Where were you when the Corona virus went viral?
This school year will be forever remembered as an historic year.
Naturally, for us in Project Aseret this is also true but for positive reasons as well.
A Story from the Field
In the middle of a Project Aseret workshop on the Power of Words, an 8th grade student, who was new to the school, stood up in class and burst into tears. Struggling to speak, she managed to share her story: In her previous school she had been subjected to bullying, shaming and had been socially ostracized to the point that she considered suicide.
Her shocking story touched everyone present. This experience brought home to the students how much impact our words have on each other.
This 8th grade Mila Sheli (My Word) Program of Project Aseret is a follow up for the Ten Commandments comprehensive 7th grade curriculum, which focuses on practical tools to help adolescents navigate the realities and dangers of social media. The students, parents and teachers deeply appreciate this forum, it heightens awareness and provides guidance for speaking and sharing in ways that don’t hurt, but rather help, encourage and support.
Our New Partnership – Expansion into the Elementary Schools.
This year began extremely positively with a significant expansion as we added our newest strategic partner: the Ometz organization. Following our successful pilot last school year with a mini program building up to Shavuot, we have now launched the full program for Grade 6 (the Bat Mitzvah year) in 30 schools spread out in 17 locations across Israel. Although the COVID-19 restrictions forced the intended expansion for Grades 3-4 and the new program for Grades 1-2 to be pushed off to next year (in total an estimate of 2500 students who would have engaged with the Ten Commandments), the full program for Grade 6 was delivered almost in its entirety.
Ometz's model for working in schools includes utilizing those in their final year of a Teacher’s degree who have required internship teaching.
A big part of what Project Aseret brings to the partnership is the workshop leaders’ training, which aims not only to train them, but to inspire them in order that they can truly inspire others. The feedback we received was that the workshops were very engaging, the messages were clear, and that it was a pleasure to teach the content. Project Aseret, they claimed, has vastly upgraded their work in the school.
The wonderful journey the students experience as they learn and apply the Ten Commandments to their own lives and personalities was abruptly stopped by the shutdown. Fortunately, they were able to get through two thirds of the program before the restrictions started. Unfortunately, the program did not resume once schools restarted. However, we are hoping to reach out to all our middle schools and attempt to continue the interrupted program throughout Grade 8.
Our main partner for the middle school programs is the El Ami organization. In addition, we now are into our second year working with the Zehut organization in their Lod branch and we have been exploring additional partnerships.
Program for University Students
We are now concluding our second year with our expanded university students program. Project Aseret is active in eight programs across the country: five in the south, two in central Israel and one in the north. This year we have 360 secular students dedicating a large part of their Jewish Studies enrichment program to the Ten Commandments, spending up to 4 1/2 hours studying each Commandment.
This program for university students continues to be highly successful. The views of the directors of the various programs are that the Ten Commandments have never been more relevant. They feel that the content we provide enables them to fully upgrade their program in its entirety. Naturally, this year was challenging with only half of the programs able to fully complete the study of all the Ten Commandments.
Tablets of the Covenant Game
We have designed and produced an educational game for families based on the approach of the Ten Commandments as core values. After testing the game last year with 1000 of our students and their families, and following the very positive feedback we received, we felt that it was time to offer the game to the wider market.
Now, for the first time Project Aseret has partnered with Tuval – a company which distributes educational materials and games to schools and to young families. This is an opportunity for us to ‘test the waters’ and learn how to reach out to new audiences and to do so in a profitable manner.
The ‘Haggada of Shavuot’ that COVID-19 brought to the world
A long-awaited idea was brought to life as the schools shut down and our staff was ready for its next challenge. The ‘Haggada of Shavuot’ is a guide for the family, aiming to enrich their festive Yom Tov meal on Shavuot eve. This guide gave thousands of families a fun and meaningful opportunity to explore the Ten Commandments and their relevance as core values. With this haggada it is estimated that 10,000 people, including parents, grandparents, and children, engaged with the Ten Commandments. They read, sang, played and meditated all in one evening, which gave them a true taste of how meaningful the Ten Commandments can be to our everyday lives.
Project Aseret is utilizing the opportunity that shutdown and restrictions have created. We are now exploring different revenue streams, attempting to translate the teachings, educational approach, and creativity of Project Aseret into products with which we can reach out to new audiences and maintain our educational activities.
One idea we are considering is upgrading and translating the Tablets of the Covenant game and launching it to a much wider market in Israel and abroad. Should we find the right partner, the potential is tremendous.
Another idea we are working on is transforming the workshops into videos and creating online courses for specific audiences, e.g. a Bat Mitzvah course for both mothers and daughters based on the Ten Commandments as core values. Another course we are considering involves a unique approach of combining the Ten Commandments and meditation.
איור: נעמה להב