How can we make Israel accessible remotely to everyone everywhere?

Israel online curriculum
That was the question we started asking ourselves here at ShaiTours when our reality started changing. With Covid-19 and the lockdowns we realized that something had to be done. One year ago, I realized that I was heavily invested in the tourism industry and having literally no tourists arriving in the near future presented an unforeseen problem.

There were two options available from my point of view:

  1. Take a break. Basically translated to closing shop and giving up on all the hard work my team and I have invested into creating this brand and raising it to this level.
  2. Fight on. Create something new and interesting that will generate both interest as well as income even in such a crazy situation.

We chose the latter. With the famous words of Zombieland “nut up or shut up” in mind, we set out to try and figure out how we can make this happen.

We want to make Israel accessible for everyone

The greatest issue from my perspective was the fact that numerous schools, universities, Synagogues, Churches, families and many others planned to arrive during 2020 and 2021 and that option became unrealistic.

See, While a trip can be postponed, the new dates sometimes become impossible for a variety of reasons that have to do with the group itself: A senior year at school cannot be redone, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah cannot be pushed indefinitely, some may have health issues that all of a sudden disallow travel and so on.

When I realized that, I also realized that there are hundreds of millions who may never have planned on arriving at all. We wanted to make Israel accessible for all of those.

How technology is useful for online education?

We tried to figure out the best way to do it and tried out a variety of options: Live-Streaming from sites, Zoom presentations, Pre-Recorded 360 footage, Live-Streaming in 360 and so much more (You can read more about 360 tech here).

You would not believe how many issues we dealt with. From weather issues to funding aspects, from filming permits to lawyers and copyright issues, closed sites due to lockdowns and sites that would not allow us to film because they didn’t want to become available this way… you name it, we had it.

At the end, we finally came up with an option that can work with the tech issues, time differences and every other curve-ball that was thrown at us. So… we went out and captured Israel on video. Over the course of the last few months we have been hard at work. Now, this was a costly endeavor and took quite a bit of time and so we cannot allow it to be open to all. However, we wanted to allow you a taste of what we’ve done.

Where can I find free lectures?

The link provided will allow you to view 3 videos that are strongly associated with my family story. Please feel free to watch and share with everyone. These are only a taste of what we’ve done as we’ve shot over 60 sessions so far and will be adding more over time to our ever growing library.

We are using these videos to create online learning opportunities and I am already teaching in a school in California remotely at this point. The content created is accompanied by live presentation by video conferencing, live video feed from sites, debates and sometimes even homework. This curriculum can be used by Jewish day-schools, Christian schools, Universities and private groups or families interested in learning more about Judaism, Israel, Geo-politics etc.

We have so far created the following:
1. The complexity of Mount Moriah (3 sessions)

2. The development of Judaism from the Temple period to our timeline (4 sessions)

3. Modern Israel – From Destruction to Resurrection (5 sessions)

4. The geo-political aspect of Israel (8 sessions)

What makes an effective online lesson?

As part of the Online-Curriculum, we created T-Shirts, Booklets, Journals and much more. Naturally, this can be customized to better suit you or your organization and we have much more in store. Just check out some of the pics provided and see how much effort was placed into this endeavor.

We have at this point completed 6 sessions out of the 24 the current Curriculum holds and it is proving to be a great success. I recently read that “Virtual Travel is here to stay” in an article and I must admit that I couldn’t agree more.

Can you imagine how many people dream of coming to Israel? Forget the virus for a minute. There are quite literally hundreds of millions who dream of coming and can’t due to financial issues, medical issues, age or even the fact that they were born in places like Iran (who doesn’t have diplomatic relations with Israel yet). Why not allow them all to experience the wanders of the Holy Land? Well, that’s exactly what we set out to do and I’m proud to say we are finally available for everyone’s “Virtual Visit”.

We have a lot more coming and you will be surprised by what’s up ahead. Just wait for our next announcement on March 25th. In the meantime, enjoy the videos and let us know what you think. We are on Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor and much more and we are anxiously waiting for you physical or virtual arrival . 🙂

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