The Israel Program for Excellence in English

תלמ”א – התכנית הלאומית למצוינות באנגלית

We are thrilled to partner with TALMA– The Israel Program for Excellence in English, to offer Hebrew Public network teachers an all-expenses-paid (flight, meals, accommodation, PD, excursions) summer professional development experience in Israel. Accepted Fellows will:
  • grow their teacher toolkit while collaborating in a classroom alongside a local Israeli co-teacher
  • gain exposure to the Hebrew language through an immersive cultural experience in one of TALMA’s summer placement communities
  • experience Israel through a unique professional development program that includes –
    • PD sessions with partners such as Relay Graduate School of Education.
    • Speaker-series with Israel’s ‘Teachers of the State’ such as ‘Teaching Through the Noise.’
    • Visits to social initiatives and start-ups that will expose teachers to the entrepreneurial spirit of ‘The Start-Up Nation’ while fostering a creative problem-solving approach and mindset.
    • Opportunities to connect and collaborate with Hebrew Public teachers from across the network as well as 200+ educators from around the world
    • Weekend learning retreats in locations throughout Israel…and more!
  • develop their global citizenship through a firsthand service-learning experience in Israel which they can bring back to their Hebrew Public classrooms to share with students and the Hebrew Public community.

Meet The 2021 Hebrew Public Talma Fellows

Alex Bonser – PHP

״I want to join TALMA because it will provide me with a unique, enjoyable, and exciting learning experience. As an educator, I believe this experience will allow me to connect and share my passions. Not only will I have the ability to professionally develop, but can personally grow through the ability to immerse myself into an unfamiliar culture. I am eager to learn and grow from other teachers, make connections, and gain stronger teaching habits, skills, and tools. Finally, I believe this experience will strengthen my connection to the mission at Philadelphia Hebrew Public Charter School which is to teach global citizens and develop lifelong learners.״

Chrisalaxsandra Gilthrise  – HLA

״Currently I work at Hebrew Language Academy, and the experience I’ve had thus far has been truly rewarding. Israel culture is a big part of my school community and I want to learn more so I can better understand my students’ cultures and traditions to better serve them. I have been learning so much about Israel’s culture and language and it would be an amazing experience to actually visit Israel and learn even more. Israel is a beautiful place and there is just so much I can learn there and bring back to my classroom. Having this experience and going on this journey will definitely help me to be a better teacher, and help me to better serve my diverse population of students.״

Sarah Hanrahan – PHP

“When I first joined the Hebrew Public community, I failed to see exactly how children in Philadelphia could become global citizens simply through language immersion. My thinking quickly changed as I saw my first graders introducing themselves in Hebrew and telling me about Israeli cities and foods. It was beautiful to watch the world unfold in front of them. I knew that as my children learned more about Israel and the Hebrew language, I needed to keep up. By joining TALMA, I want to model global citizenship for my students and continue my journey in learning more about Israel and Hebrew. I want to be able to bring these experiences back to my students and to continue to build a bridge between Philadelphia, Israel, and the world.”

Daphnir Joisil – PHP

“I work at a Hebrew Public school and Hebrew is a language that I’ve really come to enjoy. My classroom is named after a city in Israel called Amirim and being in Israel will help me gain a perspective of the country, the people, and the food that I can then share with my students. The more I learn about Israeli culture and the Hebrew language, the more interested I become in Israel and TALMA is offering an opportunity that will allow me to explore these interests on a deeper level. Finally, I consider myself a change agent, and going to Israel will teach me some things that I can take back home and apply to my future endeavors.”

Shavon Jordan – PHP

“TALMA is an amazing opportunity that will allow me to pursue both short and long-term goals. As a SpEd teacher at Philadelphia Hebrew Public who supports ESL programming, I am excited for the opportunity to teach English to ELLs and to also learn more Hebrew. It is my short term goal as PHP’s Special Education Coordinator to help support our Hebrew team by experiencing Israel. I think it will help to have teachers who have been there for students to have a window into Israel so I can describe my experience, especially for Black students at our school. It is my long term goal to help my school create social and academic supplemental lessons and service-learning to support Hebrew in the Upper Elementary grades as our school grows to include more grades.”

Roger Katz – Hebrew Public

“As an employee of Hebrew Public, I’ve seen first-hand the value of dual-language education. I believe that every student in every country should have the opportunity to be multi or even tri-lingual. As an advocate and employee of an organization like Hebrew Public, whose mission is sculpting young minds and creating global citizens, I want to embody and experience first-hand teaching in another country. In both the short and long term, having the opportunity to immerse myself and experience the culture of another country will only re-affirm my commitment to creating a more open-minded and empathetic next generation. I’ve always felt a connection to Israel, but, as luck and timing would have it, never had the opportunity to go. I’m hopeful that spending a month in Israel will give me the opportunity to visit holy sites like Masada and the Western Wall and experience Jewish culture from a perspective I’ve not yet experienced.”

Brittany Simmons – Sela

“My last TALMA experience was all-around rewarding. I had the opportunity to work in Rehovot, and what I loved most was that even though I was given the responsibility of teaching my Israeli students, they also taught me. Each day came with a new experience, whether good or ‘balagan.’ By the time our last day came, it was apparent that we had developed a great bond. As an educator in a Hebrew immersion school, I was also able to experience what some of my colleagues experience when teaching students a new language. I value that because it gives me a better idea of how to support within my own classroom. I’m excited to return for more teaching, more learning, and more fun!

I also would love to recreate the team and family experience that I found in Israel. I can honestly say that my experience was amazing because I was surrounded by wonderful people that I learned SO much from. Three weeks is not a long time, but in my time with my TALMA students and fellow educators, I developed a special bond that eased nerves and made the exchange of knowledge easier. I am excited to recreate those bonds with a new TALMA group and I’m excited for the opportunity to return to Israel.”

Deborah Spencer – HLA

“I am a teacher who loves bringing my students’ cultures into the classroom. Having Israel as an integral part of HLA has been an interesting and enriching experience. Having Israel as part of students’ curriculum gives me as a secular teacher a starting point to bring in other cultures to our classroom. I can make a connection to something in Israel as a jumping-off point from which to speak about other cultures. Learning more about Israel on a level I have not known, by teaching there, will allow me more avenues from which I can make these connections. I think this conversation on culture is integral to the HLA mission, in which I strongly believe, of creating global citizens. I have had brief visits to different parts of Israel previously, but have mostly been in the centers of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I have been excited by other areas and am hoping to broaden my horizons by serving and learning in areas of the country I have not explored. I think learning about different areas will both help me grow as an individual and strengthen my connection to the land, and will also allow me more ways to connect Israel with my students’ interests here in the US.”

Jason Sutton – HLA

“The TALMA experience is an invaluable way to bring real-world experience to instruction and bridge the gap between English and Hebrew speaking populations. Being able to serve communities on behalf of TALMA and Hebrew Public is an opportunity that will not only allow me to fortify my own teaching practices, but also connect and develop relationships with native Hebrew speakers and teachers from around the world!

TALMA provides a unique way to engage with communities in Israel. We have the opportunity to serve and teach families our language – and by stepping into their communities, we learn the value of their culture and language. In this way, we learn from our students. This exchange of knowledge helps to build and develop a love of learning for not just our respective languages but also our shared cultures. As a member of a school that seeks specifically to teach Hebrew, we are uniquely placed to positively affect the lives of these students. In short, TALMA is the door to serving and learning the importance of culture, both here and abroad.”

Shannon Whitaker – HLA

“I never imagined that I’d become a teacher, however here I am and I love it. I’m a fun, creative, and musical person and I bring all of that to my class when I teach. I also have a passion for learning about cultures and religions other than mine, hence my bachelor’s degree in Religious studies. Now, I teach at a Hebrew Public school and get the opportunity to immerse myself in Israeli culture and the Hebrew language.

Before applying to teach at HLA, I was doing my research on the school and saw TALMA featured on Hebrew Public’s website. When I saw that working at Hebrew Public I’d have the opportunity to immerse myself in the Hebrew culture and teach abroad, I knew I had to apply. Now, being accepted to TALMA is like a vision coming true. I’m so excited to have been offered this opportunity.

As a TALMA Fellow, I will love to learn about where the three major religions were founded. TALMA will offer me the opportunity to merge all my passions and use my skills to advance in my career.”

Annecia Williams – HLA2

“I have a personal and academic interest in Israel. The first is because of religious reasons. I want to be able to explore the place that is the foundation of my religious understanding and knowledge. My school also has a lot of students that are Jewish. Therefore, I always hear about the culture, amazing food and the beauty of Israel and I want to experience this first hand and build even deeper connections with my students as a result. The idea that I can go to Israel and tell my students about it, is simply thrilling. I would be able to foster even better relationships with my previous students and the ones that I will have the pleasure of teaching for the next school year.

Also, my school teaches Hebrew. I want to be able to have experiences of my own that can benefit my school as well. I want to be able to gain experience in a different setting and gain professional development that I know would be an asset to my career and my students. This experience simply allows me to put into practice the many things that I have learned in my teaching career, and influence students, while also being influenced by them as well. I believe that TALMA is a great program that will allow me to improve my craft while giving back to my community and, on a whole, the world. I believe that the skills that I will gain through this experience, will directly impact my school and students. ”

Victoria Zayat – PHP

“I am inspired to join TALMA because I am eager to connect with Israel and have the opportunity to weave parts of the Israeli culture into my own classroom at Philadelphia Hebrew Public. As a Teach for America & Relay GSE alum, I am also deeply committed to ensuring that all children have access to an equitable education and I’m excited that I could extend this impact beyond the US. TALMA will also help me to connect with educators from all over and form relationships with people that I would not typically have the opportunity to meet. Joining TALMA will help me reach my short-term goal of broadening my perspective beyond US education and continuing to make an impact in the classroom. As a teacher at Hebrew Public, I continue to learn the Hebrew language alongside my students (so far, I can count up to 10!) and explore various aspects of Israeli culture. From this TALMA experience, I hope to learn more about Israeli culture in the classroom setting and am excited to learn through immersion.”

Hebrew Public Talma Alumni

“My involvement in Talma will help me connect with my students here in Brooklyn who attend HLA and share this experience with them. Joining Talma also resonates with me because I would love the opportunity to teach in another country – especially Israel because of my love of history and Biblical times.”

“I would love the chance to learn from other educators. The chance to learn from another teacher in my favorite place in the world would make it that much better! My goal is to learn how to improve my teaching abilities and bring stronger skills back to my classroom for the new school year. “

“Being Jewish drives my commitment to social justice through education. My way of helping to repair the world is by making sure underserved children have the academic and social skills they need to rise above their economic circumstances, and create new and better realities for themselves and their families.”

“When I first learned about TALMA during training for Hebrew Public, it struck me that TALMA Fellows do more than visit and observe – they become part of school communities in Israel. Living in Israel {previously} gave me an entry into Israeli culture, but not to the extent I craved.  TALMA will open more fully space  for me to learn.”

“I am applying to TALMA to broaden my horizons. Being someone who is not of Jewish descent, I am continuously inspired by the Jewish culture. TALMA will take my love for teaching and help me spread it across the globe and bring back other cultures to my own classroom.”

“Being accepted to TALMA will help fulfill my passion and purpose in life while also helping prepare me to teach the 1st graders I’ll have at Philadelphia Hebrew Public come fall. I feel that there is no better training for me to teach the kids in Philly about Israel & global citizenship than by actually experiencing the people & culture myself.”

“In the coming years at Kavod Charter, I hope to better understand the Israeli culture and Hebrew language to better support the students who I work with. I find that immersing yourself in a community is one of the best ways to help catalyze your connection with students and parents.”

My involvement with TALMA would make me the global citizen that I tell my students to be. This experience would also help me to be a change agent. Being able to learn about, understand and respect differences will allow me to do the work of bridging gaps.”

“I want to enrich my knowledge and involvement with Israeli culture so that I can add cultural depth to my assignments at Sela. At the same time, I would love to introduce aspects of American culture and American art to enrich TALMA students in Israel. I’d also like exposure to the Israeli art scene.”

“Of all programs, I want to be apart of this program because it appears to change the lives of not just the students, but the teachers as well. Before entering my current school, I was unaware that a program of this nature was available to me. I think  this is truly the next step in my education journey.”

“The TALMA program provided me with an opportunity to teach English immersion classes in Israel.  I wanted to see what it would be like to teach in Israel because at my school I work with Israeli teachers. The TALMA program gave me a chance to really experience Israel and watch future generations grow. Being a teacher was always in me but it took the people – professors, mentors, family –  along the way that helped me see it.”
To learn more about Jared’s experience click here.

“My current role as a second-grade teacher at a dual-language charter school allows me to learn and appreciate the cultural and linguistic aspects of Israel. As a current employee of Hatikvah International Charter School, we work hard to teach students the language and culture of Israel alongside U.S. customs. We have an incredible opportunity in that we are able to work and teach alongside native Hebrew speakers, many of whom are from Israel. I hope, as a result of this fellowship, that I am able to gain a greater understanding of Israeli culture and bring my experiences back into the classroom in New Jersey.

“As a teacher at Hatikvah International Charter School in East Brunswick, NJ, I have had the opportunity to learn about and be exposed to various cultures. Specifically, learning about Israel, it’s vibrant history and culture has been of interest to me. My goals would include learning conversational Hebrew, connecting with Israeli’s, and gaining a broader perspective on Israel’s role in the global community. I hope to help Israelis through instruction in English, while experiencing and living among the people of Israel.