Posted by: chrisdavis | July 31, 2008

Jerusalem school


I have been waiting to meet the new principal of the Christian school here in Jerusalem (he has been on vacation for 2 weeks in England). So, this morning was the time.

Scott dropped me off at the apartment of Colin Ross. We sat for about an hour over coffee and cookies and talked about children and education. I found this man to be very soft-spoken, humble and a real “kindred spirit”. We talked at length about how God gifts children differently and about the extreme difference in approach to children between the institutional school mindset (of treating all children as generic human beings) and the child-gifted-directed form of raising children that homeschoolers understand. This excited him. He was interested in hearing all the things I say when I give my homeschooling seminars and immediately understood what I was talking about. I think it helped that he has three children of his own. We discussed how this kind of worldview might be integrated into an institutional setting such as his school.

I will give you a little of this man’s background.

He is a native of England whose ancestors were Jewish. His grandparents escaped to England during the holocaust. They were so determined to assimilate into British society that they actually became anti-Semitic to the point of serving ham for their Sunday meals. Colin attended public schools and gave his live to Jesus during his first year of college. Eventually he visited his Jewish extended family all of whom had moved to Israel. Colin’s wife is not Jewish but has had a heart for the Jewish people all her adult life and she waited for 10 years for the Lord to put it on her husband’s heart to move the family to Israel. Several years ago, Colin did just this and worked as a volunteer for the first few years until he was able to find work in the Christian school here in Jerusalem.

For decades, there has been a school in downtown Jerusalem called AISJ, which stands for Anglican International School of Jerusalem. This school was begun as an outreach of Church Ministries to the Jews which is in England.

There is a growing number of Christians in Israel who want their children to be educated outside the Israeli public school system. Many of them are turning to homeschooling while others want to send their children to Christian schools since both parents work. There are only 2 Christian schools in the whole country and AISJ is one of them.

However, because AISJ is an International school, its student body is made up not only of Christians, but also of Jews (including Orthodox Jews) and Arabs (now called Palestinians). In fact, the Palestinian Prime Minister’s own children attend this school and the Prime Minister was the keynote speaker at the recent graduation ceremonies. What this means is that, though AISJ began as a Christian school, it is no longer exclusively so and it’s mission now is expressed as one of being “tolerant” of all faiths.

The little school (about 100 students from K-8th grade) to which Colin is the new principal is on the same grounds as AISJ and is considered a “satellite” campus of AISJ. It’s name is Mekor Hatikva School and calls itself “A Messianic School in Jerusalem”. All its families are Christian (some former Jews who have become Christians). Unlike AISJ (whose instruction is all in English), all the instruction in Colin’s school is in Hebrew, but they do have teachers who teach English to the Hebrew-speaking students. AISJ actually has a vision of setting up small, Christian-only, schools throughout the country wherever Christian communities feel the need for schools to be established.

Colin and I took the bus to his school and we looked at the school rooms, all of which are very old, with some of the walls looking as if they were going to fall in on us. The plaster on the walls are cracked and the rooms are so small that I couldn’t believe they were able to get 10 desks into them. The AISJ part of the campus is also very old, but AISJ seems to have more money and the ability to give its part of the campus more physical attention.

After talking more, it was obvious it was time for me to return home. How were things left? I asked Colin if he had any thoughts as to what I should do next. He said he didn’t, but that he very much wanted me to be part of the work/ministry in some capacity. His school has little money and their English teachers work only part time. He suggested that, before I leave, we visit the newly-hired new principal of AISJ to see if his school had any openings. But, when we walked to the man’s house, he was not at home.

So, Colin and I prayed together for some time and then he said he would see what he could do to bring my name to the new AISJ principal. I made it clear to Colin that I wasn’t anxious about work. I am intrigued to see where the Lord will eventually place me, but I am not concerned about it. If I have reached my age and have not learned to trust Him by now, there’s something really wrong with my relationship with Him. He has been, and will always remain, faithful.

So, there is my day.

It is now evening on this Thursday. I am at peace. Danny called me a little while ago to ask if I really wanted to work in Israel. I told him that I am no longer personally invested in where I go and what I do. I didn’t expect him to understand this, of course; but that’s OK. Some of you who read this may not understand it, either. That’s OK, too. However, I know some of you who will understand…

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