The Lippman School has been named one of 21 leading Jewish organizations in the Midwest, as a result of its innovative “Two Tribes, One Vision” cultural exchange program with the Northern Cheyenne Nation in Montana. The Slingshot Fund, which allocates grants to inspiring organizations that resonate with next-generation Jewish life, has listed the school in this year’s Slingshot Guide Midwest supplement.
Selected from among hundreds of finalists, the “Two Tribes, One Vision” program is described in the guide as one that “clearly demonstrates the impact of sustained cross-cultural encounters as it relates to building strong Jewish identities.”
“Two Tribes, One Vision” brings together students from a Jewish day school in Akron and from the Northern Cheyenne Nation in Montana, to engage in cross-cultural learning experiences. This partnership allows teenage students to break down stereotypes of each other through meaningful interactions around everyday life.
Participants learn about their similar histories and experiences, including genocide, leaving and returning to a homeland, and feeling misunderstood. This results in a mutually empowering encounter that encourages positive identity building on both sides. Through this work, “Two Tribes, One Vision” promotes meaningful dialogue around the shared experience of making ancient traditions relevant in the modern world.
Each fall, tribal leaders and 8th-grade students from the Northern Cheyenne Tribal School visit Akron, and in the spring, 7th and 8th graders from The Lippman School visit the Cheyenne Reservation in Lame Deer, Montana. Students serve as educators for their peers, teaching about their unique traditions and engaging their counterparts in explorations of sacred spaces like synagogues or sweat lodges, and cultural celebrations like circle dancing or drumming.
These immersion experiences have a powerful impact on students, and Akron Jewish organizations frequently ask The Lippman School to bring students from both groups to discuss their experiences of shared learning. Through this unique cultural exchange program, Two Tribes, One Vision promotes identity development among participants and builds bridges between two ancient cultures rich in sacred traditions.
Sam Chestnut, Head of School, says “We’re proud to be recognized for our work with the Northern Cheyenne. Our ‘Two Tribes, One Vision’ program has been a richly rewarding learning experience for our students. The bridge we have built between our two communities has provided an unparalleled opportunity for sharing, growth, and understanding.”
Northern Cheyenne students, teachers, and elders will visit The Lippman School for the third time next May. Lippman students visited the Northern Cheyenne reservation in Lame Deer, Montana for the second time last May.