Tuvia Book
Author, educator, Tour-Guide, artist

Sydney Style Tolerance

I recently returned from presenting workshops on Israel and Zionism to Jewish day schools in Sydney, Australia. One of the most inspirational concepts I observed during my trip was the decision by some of the Jewish day schools to be inclusivist of all of the Jewish denominations and to accept non-Jewish students.

The result of this decision is that all the families in Sydney who want a Jewish day school education send their children to either Masada on the North Shore or Emanuel in the Eastern suburbs. The lovely students who I addressed had grown up with Jews (and a few non-Jews) of all Jewish denominations from across the ideological and religious spectrum ranging from observant to secular. Despite the differences of ideology, there was a tremendous amount of mutual respect as what to what they all had in common and who they were as individuals and not what differentiated them.

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Teaching at Masada, Photo © 2016, T. Book

These day schools invest heavily, both financially and time-wise, in Zionist education, as do most of the leading Day Schools in Australia, and the results are laudable. Most send all of their year ten students to Israel in order to experience the Zionist dream in the Jewish homeland first hand. All have dedicated Israeli staff members on both the formal and informal levels.

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Teaching at Emanuel.  Photo © 2016, T. Book

I felt that the levels of respect, tolerance and open-mindedness amongst both the school students and staff were exceptional.  Such a model needs to be replicated in Israel and indeed throughout the Jewish world. The Mishnaic statement, “who is wise? S/he who learns from all people,” was in full evidence in these schools. In these trying times, with constant media reports on internecine Jewish struggles, I think that the Sydney model as practiced in both Masada and Emanuel, is something we can all learn from, and endeavour to emulate, in order to foster Jewish unity and aspire to a better more tolerant world for our children

About the Author
Dr. Tuvia Book was born in London and raised in both the UK and South Africa. After making Aliya at the age of 17 and studying in Yeshiva he volunteered for the IDF, where he served in an elite combat unit. Upon his discharge he completed his BA at Bar-Ilan University, as well as certification in graphic design. He then served as the Information Officer at the Israeli Consulate of Philadelphia, while earning a graduate degree in Jewish Studies. Upon his return to Israel, Dr. Book graduated from a course of study with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and is a licensed tour guide. Tuvia has been working in the field of Jewish Education, both formal and informal, for many years. He has guided and taught Jewish students and educators from around the English-speaking world for some of Israel’s premier educational institutions and programs. Tuvia has been guiding groups for Birthright Israel since its inception and, in addition, has lectured throughout North America, Australia, Europe and South Africa. Tuvia served as a Shaliach (emissary) for the Jewish Agency for Israel as the Director of Israel and Zionist Education at the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York (Jewish Education Project). He was a lecturer/educational guide at the Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education (AMIIE) in Israel for a decade. Tuvia has lectured at both Bar Ilan University and Hebrew University. He is the author (and illustrator) of the internationally acclaimed Zionism curriculum; “For the Sake of Zion; A Curriculum of Israel Education” (fifth edition, 2017, Koren) and is at present working on his next book, a history of the Jewish people. Tuvia has a doctorate in Israel education. His dissertation title is: “Through the Soldiers’ Eyes: Exploring the Influence of a Birthright Mifgash on the Israeli Soldier Participants.”
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