The goal is to give young, secular Israelis an education that will show them that they too have a rich culture to tap into and explore.
Modern Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip resumed only after the 1967 Six-Day War, but even with those settlements set to be evacuated, Jewish roots in the sandy strip of land where Egypt, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea meet run deep.
Opinions differ on whether the area was or was not included in the Land of Israel conquered by the ancient Israelites in the Bible.
Edna Bar-Or wants to be optimistic about the prospects for peace after this week's Palestinian elections, but like many Israelis, she is not sure she can.
"I very much hope it will bring good," said Bar-Or, 55, surrounded by stacks of laundry and hangers full of pressed shirts at her dry cleaning shop. "I want to be optimistic, but I don't think anyone knows what will be.
Israelis followed news of the Palestinian Authority elections Sunday, pausing to listen to radio and television news broadcasts and to read newspaper front pages plastered with large photographs of Mahmoud Abbas, better known as Abu Mazen. Yasser Arafat's former deputy won the vote by 62 percent and will become the next president of the Palestinian Authority.
North American Modern Orthodox Jews say they can explain their connection to Israel in one word: Torah.
"It's an organic existence. An Orthodox Jew grows up and believes that Eretz Yisrael and the people of Israel are one. The fulfillment of Torah is Eretz Yisrael," said David Cohen, director of Orthodox Union (OU) activities in Israel. "It's not about connection. It's who we are."
Pop diva Madonna was among the praying, swaying and singing masses of kabbalah enthusiasts who made the pilgrimage to Israel for the High Holidays, seeking spiritual transformation through a brand of Jewish mysticism.
The two men walk as one -- in steady step, shoulder to shoulder, their words a torrent of Yiddish.
There is much to catch up on since the former neighbors and schoolmates last met. That was more than 60 years ago, when the transports, fear and separations that characterized Jewish life during World War II reached their Polish hometown.