The Reishit School

The Reishit Elementary School is under the supervision of the Ministry of Education National Religious Sector. This school caters to 400 children, in 17 classrooms, grades 1-8.

You may ask why this project is so special. The Reishit School was founded in 2000 in Gush Etzion. The cornerstone of the school is its commitment to co-educate children with special needs alongside their peers. Sixty children in the school have special educational needs, including Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism. Each classroom is staffed by a general classroom teacher, a special education teacher and a volunteer from Sherut Leumi (National Service). All pupils with special needs are part of the regular class and are supported with their own individual education program covering the same subjects as their friends with additional input where needed. They also receive occupational, speech and animal therapy, according to their needs.

The School’s ‘raison d’?tre’ is based on three principles: the love of Torah, love of the Land of Israel, and love of one’s fellow man.

Reishit is located in Kibbutz Rosh Tzurim, a rural setting approximately 20 km southwest of Jerusalem. The tranquility and space that the kibbutz provides allow for a number of therapeutic activities which benefit all the children. These include a petting corner where the children are responsible for the care of the animals, a garden where vegetables and plants are tended by the children, and horseback riding.

The program is one of its kind in Israel. Many families have moved to Gush Etzion because of this amazing educational framework. Additional classrooms are needed to fill the growing demand.

The theory of integrating children with special needs into a regular framework is not new, but is seldom put into practice to the extent seen in Reishit, which has proven to be one of the greatest successes in Israeli special needs education. The key to the school’s success is that rather than providing an institutional environment meeting the physical and/or psychological needs of such children, Reishit provides a tailor-made program to meet the needs of each child within a regular educational environment. Apart from fostering understanding and tolerance in all children at the school, it also focuses on bringing the children with special needs closer to the mainstream and allows them to build the skills they need to achieve a high level of independence or even to return them to mainstream education.

We will soon be breaking ground for the new school that will be at the main educational campus of Gush Etzion, just 2 kilometers from Rosh Tzurim, but in a most tranquil setting.

The new school will have 24 classrooms and an additional 8 classrooms for challenged children. Some of these classes will be in 2-3 smaller buildings, up to 2 floors.

The Ministry of Education will fund 2,850 sq. meters, although the special needs of the Reishit School require 3,018 sq. meters at 15 million NIS. The school will be built and planned with handicap access and other special services to meet the various needs of the children.

The cost of the building has increased by 3.000.000 NIS. Modifying it for the special needs children and making adjustments due to geographic considerations, mountainous and rocky terrain, have raised the cost.

We are now in the final stage of the plans and preparation for the public bid of contractors.

    Donor Opportunities

    Agriculture & Carpentry
    Full time carpentry teacher $20,000
    Full time agriculture teacher $20,000
    Carpentry needs, tools and materials $13,000
    Greenhouse, maintenance and farming supply $25,000
    Integral Learning Center
    Full time teacher $25,000
    Materials and supplies $25,000
    Independence Center
    Computer and Communications Equipment $8,000
    Various therapies equipment& tools $27,000
    Life skills training and equipment $45,000
    Outdoor playground structure $8,000
    Ongoing maintenance $4,000
    Science Laboratory
    Laboratory needs and ongoing supplies $40,000
    Computer Room
    Furniture and computers $100,000
    Breathing Space $40,000
    Music Room
    Musical Instruments & books $60,000
    Books & furniture $50,000


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