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The saying goes, “To get a good job, get a good education.” For AMIT, that is job one: “Building Israel. One child at a time.”
And if they build it — solid educational opportunities for Israeli kids, many in unfortunate economic circumstances — the children will come out bigger and better for it.
It is a lesson well learned, says Rachel Scheinmann, vice president of the board of the Philadelphia Council/Shira Chapter of AMIT who has been involved with the organization the past five years.
“Determining who needs support, raising the money” are what sparks her ongoing interest and activity as a volunteer in AMIT, the 88-year-old institution, which, according to its mandate, "operates 108 schools, youth villages, surrogate family residences and other programs, constituting Israel’s only government-recognized network of religious Jewish education incorporating academic and technological studies.”
“Seeing how much the funds go toward turning the children’s lives around” in Israel provides its own course in the humanities, says Scheinmann, who grew up in Cherry Hill and now lives in Merion with her husband, Ian and four children.
"I thank my own parents for both my Jewish and secular education,” says the American history major and Penn grad, who went on to grad school, where she received certification to teach social studies, which she did at the Solomon Schechter Day School in West Orange, N.J. She later earned a law degree at the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.
After working a while as an attorney, she is now “at home with the kids” — Sarah, Rebecca, Benny and Liora — one a preschooler and the others at Perelman Jewish Day School, where Steinmann is co-president of the Parents/Teachers Organization.
“There is a need to give back to the community, to balance your life,” she says, and what she accomplishes at AMIT is a teaching tool that “shows by example.”
Much as she learned the importance of giving back from her parents — a lesson she and her husband impart to their own kids — she is buoyed by AMIT doing the same: “I have been very impressed seeing how the children do end up giving back to their country.”