New wave of college grads arrive in Israel amid COVID-19 to teach English – Esther Shimunov

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The program run by BINA is a partnership between the Jewish Movement for Social Change and MASA Israel Teaching Fellowship.

A new wave of college grads from the US, UK, Canada and Singapore have landed in Israel in time with the second wave of COVID-19 to teach English to Israeli children for the next ten months.

The program, run by BINA, is a partnership between the Jewish Movement for Social Change and MASA Israel Teaching Fellowship. Throughout the next ten months, the grads will teach English to children in small groups, taking some of the workload off of the teachers and brightening the days of the children.

Keeping up with this year’s endless list of out-of-the-ordinary events, the program started with two-weeks of isolation in line with Health Ministry guidelines and restrictions for passengers entering the county. During that time, the fellows would undergo pedagogical training via Zoom.

Esther Shimunov, 21, came to Israel from Queens, New York, leaving her family behind amid the pandemic to spend a year of her life volunteering in Israel. She will spend the first half of the year teaching at a school in Jaffa, and the second half of the year in Nazareth.

“Although my family did not expect me to fly to Israel alone to volunteer at the age of 21, they now understand and support me,” Shimunov said. “I decided to join BINA’s program because I think that especially now in this global pandemic it is important to become involved in social change and activism.”

Hannah Kruntiansky, from Manhattan, arrived in Israel late last month, bringing the experience she gained teaching English in Thailand to the Israeli theater. She will be volunteering her time within the Bedouin city of Rahat in the Negev, teaching English to middle school students.

“When my grandparents immigrated to the US after surviving the Holocaust and when my father escaped the military regime in Argentina, they had to overcome a language barrier – to them, learning English was important to build a life in their new country,” she said. “They inspired me to make English more accessible, especially to marginalized communities.”

credit to jpost.com