Diane Blau: GHIS Connection

I sat in awe as Rabbi Steve Cohen described the Givat Haviva International School (GHIS). First, he told me about the composition of students living and learning together. Then he explained the mission and vision. I heard words like “conflict resolution,” “peacemaking”, “leadership opportunity.” These high school students from around the world (25% are Israeli Arabs, 25% are Israeli Jews, and 50% come from other countries, many from impoverished areas and war zones) take advanced academic courses, all taught in English, while learning to engage in respectful dialogue and peaceful dispute resolution, volunteering in the community, and engaging in extra-curricular activities. With passion and commitment, in the fertile climate of GHIS, they are becoming global catalysts for change.  

The purpose of my meeting with Rabbi Steve was my desire to be engaged in a meaningful endeavor at CBB, after retiring and moving permanently from Michigan to Santa Barbara. I was mesmerized by what I was hearing. I was told that Nurit Gery, GHIS’s Executive Director, would be visiting Santa Barbara the next weekend and it might be a good idea for me to meet her and learn more. I am fortunate to have done so. 

What came out of all this was an opportunity for me to become the CBB volunteer tutoring coordinator. That is, I, along with Sissy Taran and Toby Donner, match volunteer tutors here with GHIS students. This is facilitated through GHIS administrators and faculty.  

We provide two streams of student assistance. One is tutoring in English, oral and written, and the other is helping with college admission essays. Currently, more than 30 individuals have offered their time, energy and expertise in working over Zoom with GHIS students since early last summer. 

I feel honored to be part of the GHIS program at CBB, especially in seeing the amazing volunteers who generously share their wisdom and in knowing what a difference they make as they contribute to each student’s success.  

For more information about volunteer tutoring opportunities, please contact me. Diane Blau, dblauphd@gmail.com 


Dr. Diane Blau lives in Santa Barbara with her husband Dr. Larry Blau, having moved here permanently from Michigan in December, 2020. Diane is President Emerita of the Michigan School of Psychology and Larry, a specialist in occupational and preventive medicine.