The Feb. 29 Jewish Exponent reported on a new addition to the Preview short-term study abroad slate for 2012: Israel.
In 30 years at Arcadia University in Glenside, physical therapy professor Jan Tecklin can't recall any students studying in Israel, despite the fact that the university is known for its study abroad program.
As a local Jew, Tecklin said, "that makes me crazy," so he made it a personal mission to change that. On March 10, he and fellow professor Karen Sawyer will lead a spring break tour of Jerusalem as part of an interdisciplinary freshman course. Of 16 students, two are Jewish. Only one has been to Israel before.
The course is designed to give students an appreciation for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, said Tecklin. Students have already heard history lectures from Tecklin and Sawyer, who is Christian, as well as Muslim guest speakers. During their week in Israel, they'll tour the Christian, Jewish and Arab quarters, museums and other attractions in Jerusalem, plus the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
Tecklin said he hopes students get a sense of why Jerusalem is such a special place in the world, especially after standing at the Western Wall and looking up at the Dome of the Rock, and then taking a short walk to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.