Although an eighth grade trip to Israel encompasses a few short weeks at the end of a student’s day school career, the planning begins many months before and the lessons learned will reverberate for many years to come. The foundation begins with the school culture, which reflects the strong ties we are building to the history, people, and culture of Israel.
HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal
Educational Travel & Student Exchange: Israel and Beyond
Five trips as a bus captain and historian with The March of the Living have left their mark: Those trips have profoundly affected my sense of mission and purpose. I spend my days (and many nights) dedicated to educating Jewish children. Caring for the emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical development of the teens in my school is part of a vow I made to those Jews who are no longer here. Each year, after two weeks of being “on” 24/7, I return from the March and think: Hitler did not win his war against the Jews!
Jewish identity, immigration, tolerance, democracy, and Jewish history are all themes that were explored first-hand this fall by the eighth graders at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Northridge, California. On October 30, twenty-five students of the Class of 2006 departed on El Al Flight 106 for two weeks as members of Heschel’s Tel Aviv/Los Angeles delegation. Accompanied by five teachers and three parents, the next two weeks were spent making new friends at the AD Gordon School in Tel Aviv, learning about Israeli life both past and present, and discussing and exploring issues relating to Jews in both Israel and around the world.
In 2004, it was twenty very tall eighth graders from Buenos Aires, who thought that their southern hemisphere “winter” jackets could really hold up against a Midwestern January (they were wrong)… In 2005, there were ten Israelis, five from Beit Shean and five from Netanyah, who lived with our middle schoolers’ families, went tobogganing with their adopted “siblings” and who cried at the airport until we peeled them away from their American “parents”. This year, another ten Israeli eighth graders descended upon our school and our homes and our classes – and ever so slightly began to bridge the gap between the Golah and Israel.
A message from RAVSAK Executive Director, Dr. Marc N. Kramer
I am still feeling the positive reverberations from the success of our January conference. The feedback we have received so far has been amazing. To those of you who were there, I extend my thanks for your participation; to those of you who were not able to attend, you were missed.