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The International Book Sharing Project
by Lana Bernhardt

The International Book Sharing Project is a school-based educational program that links American and Israeli middle and high school students in the reading, study, and on-line discussion of Holocaust literature and history. The project links students in public, private, and parochial schools across the U.S with students in schools throughout Israel.

In the program, an American class is 'matched' with an Israeli class, and all students read and study the same book. The American students connect with their counterparts in Israel to form a joint e-learning classroom and to begin an Internet-based discussion of their thoughts, opinions, and concerns that arise from the reading of the book and additional history or literature texts.

The project is coordinated through a sophisticated bi-lingual "virtual school" web site, (, which offers a specific 'classroom' for each 'match'. The web site also includes a "teachers' room" for networking among the project teachers; a gallery of the students' writings and art projects; and a site with historical documentation chosen from the extensive resources of the Korczak school 'resource room'. Through the program, students from all backgrounds have forged close intellectual and emotional bonds with their international peers.

Key Objectives

The project's goal is to use technology and an innovative curriculum (integrating history, literature, and art) to bring American and Israeli students together to study the Holocaust, and to learn the universal lessons of tolerance and humanity.

Discussions between American and Israeli students introduce participants to a multi-cultural experience that places their Holocaust studies in a modern context, and brings greater meaning to the concepts of tolerance and humanity raised in the curriculum. As a high school teacher in Louisville, KY, wrote, "This project has opened up the lines of communication among ordinary high school students in two different worlds and has allowed them to discuss issues relevant worldwide". In one of our IBSP Rabbi's words, "The partnership has provided opportunities for Jewish educators to collaborate and for us to deepen our ties to the people and the State of Israel around issues of memory and historical experience".

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