San Diego - Sha'ar HaNegev Teacher Exchange

View from atop pulsed gondola lift
Kiryat Shmona
Manara, Israel


A tram ride to the top of a cliff overlooking the beautiful Hula Valley with Mt. Hermon in the distance.

This was the last day of our trip and we were asked to share our final thoughts with the group. I did and I shall again.

My comments are an adaptation of my research at San Diego State University on peer coaching and teamwork, and my experiences working with teachers at Coronado High School.
WriteDesign - Overview of Curricular Integration)

On the trip to Israel I was reminded of the challenge I have facing me at the San Diego Jewish Academy. The challenge of working with others who have different views and different skills. I have the opportunity to work with other teachers to integrate art and technology into a variety of courses, including humanities, science, math, and Judaica.

The exciting part of my job is that each of us will have a different view of what we wish to accomplish and how we wish to achieve our goals.

My research and personal experience suggest the following factors will help focus our group efforts.

  • Common Goal - Do we want the same end result? (e.g., to provide the best education possible)
  • Complementary Skills - Does each of us provide a necessary skill that is exclusive from the other members of the group? (e.g., a content area specialist, a technology specialist, a writer, an artist, a facilitator)
  • Willingness to Take Risks - Are we willing to accept that new approaches, new paradigms are often necessary to solve new issues? (e.g., explore ideas that have never been tried before or tried in a different context - explore ideas that make us uncomfortable)
  • Similar Work Ethic - Are we willing and able to contribute to the common good? (e.g., each member contributes to the best of their ability in a way that is beneficial and valued by the whole)

OK, what happens when these elements are not present?


Throughout my journey I have examined the conflicts among Jews; among Kibbutzim members, residents, and other communities; among different generations; among different cultural backgrounds; among different religions; among different nationalities; in general my journey has allowed me to see how I feel about conflict.

More importantly, how I will act when faced with conflict.

My hope is that I will act with:

Integrity: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty (Webster's, 1996, p. 990);

Tolerance: a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry. The act or capacity of enduring; endurance (Webster's, 1996, p. 1992); and

Grace: elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action. mercy; clemency; pardon (Webster's, 1996, pp. 826-827)

Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (1996).Gramercy Books, a division of Random House Value Publishing, Inc. New York, NY.

For more information

Bomb shelters open in Kiryat Shmona (6-5-1998) | - An article from the Jerusalem Post Service describing the tensions in the area between the Lebanese and Israelis.

Voices of Jews: "We Dreamed of a State With a Different Character" | - An article that shares reflections of prominent Israelis on the course of their dreams for Israel.

Statement on Behalf of the Israel-Lebanon Monitoring Group | - Press statement by James P. Rubin on Lebanese/Israeli conflicts in the region.

The following are links to sketches and personal narratives
created during our travels

Collaboration | David Ben-Gurion's Negev and a Bedouin Camp |
Druze Village | Golan Heights | Jerusalem |
Misgav-Am | Yad Vashem | Zippori

Photos | Program Goals | WriteDesign Gallery |
E-Mail Doug at and Melissa at