Starting this September, more than 35,000 Israeli high-school students and participants in IDF preparatory courses will take part in two City of David projects...

supported by Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), which will help them explore their Jewish-Israeli identity through an active encounter with Jerusalem’s ancient history.

The “Digging for Identity” program is a four-day journey for Israeli 10th-grade students, which includes taking part in an active archaeological dig, experiential tours, hikes, encounters with various personalities, processing sessions, and group building activities.

The “LIFT-Omek Hashetach” program is intended for Israeli youth who are taking part in a yearlong or six-month long army preparatory academy program (Mechina), and offers them a hands-on interactive educational journey, in which they engage with Jerusalem’s history, archaeology and modern-day complexity. Mechina students will take part in active archaeological digs, experiential tours of various areas of Jerusalem and encounters with a range of Jerusalem residents.

Natalie Shnaiderman, director of global grantmaking, GPG, said, “The unique atmosphere of the City of David, where biblical history is recorded in stone, should be very conducive to our mutual goals – to help students and young Israelis develop an understanding of Jewish culture, heritage and values as a gateway to a deeper exploration of their personal and national identity.”

Doron Spielman, vice president of City of David, added, “Rather than simply hearing about Ancient Jerusalem, they walk in the footsteps of history, touch the stones, and excavate, going back in time thousands of years. We are extremely grateful to GPG for partnering with us and ensuring that even during these challenging times, the next generation of Israelis will not miss out on this critical and formative experience.”