JNF UK has entertained and educated over 2,500 pupils across the UK during the past fortnight with its second Festival of Spoken Ivrit. Following in the footsteps of the inaugural festival in 2019, this year’s tour featured three new plays from Tel Aviv’s Orna Porat theatre.

This year 14 different Jewish schools benefitted, including for the first time a school in Manchester. Many of the schools are recipients of JNF’s education grant, which has seen the charity donate £1.2 million to 17 schools to help support their Israel education programmes.

The plays were performed in a combination of English and Hebrew, tailored according to the requirements of each school. A teaching resource pack was also sent out beforehand to every school with lesson plans, vocabulary exercises and Hebrew songs. This format enables children to learn the language in a fun, accessible way.

As well as two traditional children’s stories – ‘The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse’ and ‘Ten Matchboxes’ – this year also featured a non-fiction play for the first time. ‘Herzl: A Dream That Came True’ was an interactive re-telling of the life of Theodor Herzl. The play included pupils taking on the roles of various individuals that Herzl encountered while promoting his vision of a Jewish state.

Yonatan Galon, CEO of JNF UK, commented: “A shared language is one of the strongest connections between Jewish communities, whether they are here or in Israel. JNF UK is very proud to see how the festival continues to grow each year. It’s been a genuine delight to see so many young people picking up Hebrew in such a dynamic way.”