Director of Jewish Life and Learning Ilan Bloch is smiling next to a Fig tree that he is planting.

Introducing our new Director of Jewish Life and Learning

This year, we welcomed Ilan Bloch as our new Director of Jewish Life and Learning. Ilan has been extensively engaged in Jewish education in Israel for the last 20 years. Ilan embarked on his teaching career at KDS in 2002 teaching Jewish Studies and Hebrew. He also served as head of the Informal Jewish Education Program (now called Jewish Experiential Education). We asked him a few questions:

KDS: Welcome back to King David! How has our school changed since you were here 20 years ago?

Ilan: It is incredible how much the school has grown over the last 20 years – both in terms of capital works, as well as the number of students and staff. What a great testament to all those who worked, and who work, so hard to achieve the vision of a thriving and vibrant Progressive Jewish day school! 

What is your favourite part of being an educator?

I love trying to develop independent, critical and independent thinking skills in students, so that they can come to their own conclusions. I want them to embark on their own journey in regard to their Jewish identity and their relationship with Israel, and on a learning process which should lead them to becoming thinkers in their own right.  

You lived in Israel for 20 years, would you consider yourself Australian-Israeli now? 

This is a difficult question. In terms of identity, I’d probably say that first I’m a member of humanity, then a Jew, then a Jerusalemite, then an immigrant. Wherever I am, it’s impossible to take the Australian out of the Israeli or the Israeli out of the Australian! 

What are you most looking forward to this year at school? 

Getting to know the students, and working together with our wonderful Jewish Studies, Ivrit and Jewish Experiential Education staff members!  

What are you most excited to initiate this year as Director of Jewish Life and Learning?

The first new initiative will be increasing our Jewish textual learning before chagim. In the first instance, we will use another lesson before each chag, which will include learning and analysing Jewish texts connected with the upcoming festival. We will start with Purim toward the end of Term 1. We want to provide an intellectually rigorous and demanding learning opportunity, which will also hopefully enhance their lived experience of the festivals. 

Thanks Ilan, we’re lookng forward to all that you bring to our school!