Israeli Educator Shares Middle East Perspective With Students

Collegiate School welcomed Zalman Spivack, an educator and licensed tour guide from Israel, as he spent time today with Middle and Upper School students discussing life in his country and issues affecting the Middle East.
Mr. Spivack is a tour guide certified by the Israel Ministry of Tourism. He earned his B.A. in Jewish history from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, studied education at Herzog College and is currently pursuing his master's degree in Jewish pluralistic education at the Melton School for Jewish Education at Hebrew University and at Hebrew Union College. Last summer, Mr. Spivack led a 12-day trip that Upper School history teacher Brad Cooke and Middle School humanities teacher Kate Cunningham experienced as part of a Virginia educators professional development program in Israel and the West Bank.

In his work, he says he enjoys introducing people to more than just the the history and natural beauty of Israel.

“I became a tour guide because I like to dive into the big questions,” he said.

In the morning, Mr. Spivack spoke to Upper School students, first in Mr. Cooke’s Contemporary World History class and later in Brian Justice’s World Religions class. He talked to both groups of students about the history of Israel, the status of the two-state solution, what life is like for Palestinians living in a settlement in the West Bank and cooperation between Muslims and Jews.

Mr. Spivack also addressed Middle School students in the first of that division’s annual religion assemblies that explore belief systems around the world. He talked about Jerusalem’s sacred spaces, as that is the focus of the assemblies this year.
Mr. Spivack shared photos of Jerusalem with the students and described it as a blend of old and new, ancient and modern and sacred and less sacred. He explained how the city, home to three of the world’s major religions, is the center of the world for Jews, Muslims and Christians. And despite all the different people living there, the city enjoys relative peace.
“Jerusalem is a place of aspiration. It is a place of reality,” he said. “It’s amazing how it works.”