Avishag Shaar-Yashuv

School Twinning: A Lesson in Connection

It’s well known that twins enjoy a special relationship, a bond as deep as it is unique. The Jewish Agency “School Twinning Network” program, together with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of diaspora Affairs, believes that groups of students can enjoy a similar bond, especially as they are “siblings” already: By matching schools in Israel with those in the Jewish Diaspora, tens of thousands of Jewish students around the world have the chance to develop a sense of connectedness and mutual responsibility with their brothers and sisters — even ones in faraway places.

Through computerized activities, parallel learning, and even in-person encounters, people and places that once seemed foreign to students become familiar, and shared experiences form the basis of memories that sustain these new families in the years and decades to come.

Take, for example, the delegation of Marimba-playing students from the ‘King David’ school in Johannesburg, South Africa. They traveled across a continent to visit their twins at the Hartuv School in Mateh Yehuda. They brought the school a gift of three handmade Marimbas, and led musical workshops, played in joint performances, and even trained Israeli music teachers to teach the Marimba to their students. When they returned home, the connection was strengthened by means of real-time video music sessions.

Indeed, if this innovative initiative has showed anything, it’s that the bond between twins can survive any distance and differences in language, background — and even musical instruments.