Shuvu differentiates itself as a unique educational system in Israel. We offer advanced secular and religious education and prioritize strengthening the connection of Jewish students and their families to their Jewish Heritage. We instill them a sense of pride and help them to forge a stronger bond with the land of Israel.
Initially all of Shuvu’s students were new Russian immigrants, devoid of any spiritual connection to their new homeland and deprived of any understanding of Jewish practices. Shuvu overcame many cultural and language barriers and for the last three decades has successfully instilled vital Jewish values in this community. With each new generation of Russian children, and with the increasing enrolment of secular Israeli children to Shuvu’s schools, our work is constantly growing.
Shuvu is a model of religious tolerance. We offer enrichment programs to ensure that our students and their families can understand what it means to be and live as a Jew. Employing a non-coercive approach, Shuvu provides its students with basic education of Jewish tradition and imbues them with a proud Jewish identity.
In every Shuvu school, a special Roots program helps children advance on their spiritual journey by discovering meaningful links in their personal family history. Jewish history classes focus on the Holocaust (Shoah) with special educational programs and class trips to Yad Vashem (Israeli Holocaust Memorial Museum). Holocaust education is a vital subject for Russian immigrants in Israel becasue in the Former Soviet Union the history of WW II focused on the suffering of Soviet citizens without mentioning the Nazis’ impact on the Jewish nation.
Weekly Adult Learning Programs
Students are enthusiastic to share with their families what they have learned about Jewish Holidays and Mitzvot. We are sensitive to the fact that what is taught in school might not be practiced at home. Therefore, Shuvu schools include parents as active partners in their children’s Jewish education by offering engaging adult learning programs such as weekly classes and home study groups. Parents support each other throughout their journey of spiritual growth. Teachers are often asked to help families with their new commitment to Torah and mitzvah observance.
‘Life-changing’ is how participants describe Shuvu’s Shabbat programs! Russian families are hosted by warm and welcoming native Israeli families for Shabbat. The program includes introductory prayer services, festive Shabbat meals, celebration of the Shabbat in song and a lively question and answer sessions with a local Rabbi. Experiencing Shabbat for the first time helps many Shuvu families understand what their children are learning and encourages them to practice a more Jewish lifestyle.
Before each Jewish holiday, Shuvu parents are briefed about what their children are learning in school. Pre-holiday events are held at most Shuvu schools for families complete with lectures in Russian, exhibitions, interactive activities, carnivals and school performances.
Before Passover, each school hosts an interactive model Seder, conducted by Shuvu students, to guide parents who may be making Seder at home for the first time. As many as 6,000 Shuvu families across Israel receive a special food package for Passover which includes a Russian-language Haggadah, boxes of matza, wine, grape juice, and other basic Passover necessities. Many families are invited to attend communal Sedarim or join local religious families for Seder night.
Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Programs
Becoming Bar or Bat Mitzva is a milestone in every Jewish boy and girl’s life and Shuvu’s immigrant students deserve to celebrate regardless of their financial situation. Bar and Bat Mitzvah events are held at the end of each school year for hundreds of Shuvu boys and girls who convene in Jerusalem from all over Israel to participate in a festive meal and joyous program.
Shuvu provides many of the boys who do not come from religious homes with their own pair of Tefillin, which many families cannot afford to purchase. To date, over 2,000 boys have become the proud owners and don Tefillin provided by Shuvu.