Enriching Education

Passing it On, Thanks to PERACH

A mentor helped a lonely child choose a career in science

• Science Tips • TAGS: Community, Culture, Education

Parpari and Eidin

(l-r) Ra’anan Parpari and Emil Eidin

In the course of writing his doctoral thesis, Emanuel (Emil) Eidin, a student in the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Department of Science Teaching, started thinking about the people he would like to thank in the acknowledgements section. He decided that some of the people to whom gratitude was due were the PERACH mentors who had helped him as a child.

Established over 40 years ago at the Weizmann Institute, PERACH – which in Hebrew is an acronym for “tutoring project” and also means “flower” – is an Israel-wide program in which college students provide one-on-one mentorship for children who are disadvantaged or having trouble in school. Eidin did not remember the surnames of those who had worked with him and so sent an email to the PERACH offices, hoping that someone would find his old mentors.

The email was then posted on Facebook, where it went viral. And the PERACH people located Ra’anan Parpari, the mentor that Eidin remembers as opening up new worlds for by giving him a book. That book was Tolkein’s The Hobbit, and it introduced the lonely boy to the world of fantasy. Parpari and Eidin began communicating on Facebook, eventually getting together for some real face time.

In elementary school, Eidin was a “problematic child” whose grades were low to middling. So the meeting was an emotional one: Eidin told Parpari just how much his help and support had meant to him. “I lived for LEGO, music, and Sherlock Holmes books,” he said. “But in school, if your grades are not good enough, then you are not good enough. Parpari saw me and he could see beyond my grades. And the door he opened for me to the world of fantasy had a real influence on my decision to go into science.” Parpari remembers Emil as a nice, polite child who felt isolated. He helped with homework, but they also played fantasy games together, talked, and went on walks.

When Eidin was an undergraduate, he returned to PERACH: this time to work as a mentor. “Our hope,” he and Parpari say, “is that teachers reading our story will be inclined to look at their students a bit differently, and that more college students will be inspired to join PERACH. That is why we agreed to let people know about our story.” 

Enriching Education

Passing it On, Thanks to PERACH

A mentor helped a lonely child choose a career in science

• Science Tips • TAGS: Community, Culture, Education

Parpari and Eidin

(l-r) Ra’anan Parpari and Emil Eidin

In the course of writing his doctoral thesis, Emanuel (Emil) Eidin, a student in the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Department of Science Teaching, started thinking about the people he would like to thank in the acknowledgements section. He decided that some of the people to whom gratitude was due were the PERACH mentors who had helped him as a child.

Established over 40 years ago at the Weizmann Institute, PERACH – which in Hebrew is an acronym for “tutoring project” and also means “flower” – is an Israel-wide program in which college students provide one-on-one mentorship for children who are disadvantaged or having trouble in school. Eidin did not remember the surnames of those who had worked with him and so sent an email to the PERACH offices, hoping that someone would find his old mentors.

The email was then posted on Facebook, where it went viral. And the PERACH people located Ra’anan Parpari, the mentor that Eidin remembers as opening up new worlds for by giving him a book. That book was Tolkein’s The Hobbit, and it introduced the lonely boy to the world of fantasy. Parpari and Eidin began communicating on Facebook, eventually getting together for some real face time.

In elementary school, Eidin was a “problematic child” whose grades were low to middling. So the meeting was an emotional one: Eidin told Parpari just how much his help and support had meant to him. “I lived for LEGO, music, and Sherlock Holmes books,” he said. “But in school, if your grades are not good enough, then you are not good enough. Parpari saw me and he could see beyond my grades. And the door he opened for me to the world of fantasy had a real influence on my decision to go into science.” Parpari remembers Emil as a nice, polite child who felt isolated. He helped with homework, but they also played fantasy games together, talked, and went on walks.

When Eidin was an undergraduate, he returned to PERACH: this time to work as a mentor. “Our hope,” he and Parpari say, “is that teachers reading our story will be inclined to look at their students a bit differently, and that more college students will be inspired to join PERACH. That is why we agreed to let people know about our story.”