Monday, April 20, 2015

Traveling South and then to Jerusalem

The last several days have been packed with on-going activity for the 8th grade delegation traveling through Israel with sister school Ort Yad Singalovski.  On Friday, students traveled through the southern part of Israel and visited the Judea Desert, the Dead Sea, Bedouin Tents and enjoyed iconic Camel Rides. They learned about the collective memory of Jewish heroes throughout the generations and of the struggle for survival in Masada.

After enjoying Shabbat with their host families and Havdalah Saturday evening, students then embarked on more travels on Sunday.

Students will spend 2 days in Jerusalem, visiting the Jewish Quarter, the Western Wall, City of David, and  Hezekiah's Tunnel.  They will learn about Herzel at the Herzel Museum and his vision for a Jewish state, and spend time at Yad Va'Shem, the world center for Holocaust research, education, dedication and commemoration.

During this time of the year in Israel the whole country has mixed feelings of sorrow and joy. On one hand we mourn the loss of our soldiers, but on the other hand we celebrate the existence and independence of the Jewish state.  Here are some more reflections and pictures from our students. 

Adam V: "Yesterday we visited Jerusalem and I was very touched. This is a beautiful city that is historically important to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Just being in Jerusalem makes me feel happy and proud. The most fought over land in all of history is now a Jewish State. That alone is remarkable, but the fact that we maintain diversity and share our accomplishments is unbelievable. I believe that the most touching part was putting on Tefillin and praying in front of the last remaining wall of the outside of the holy temple. There is no feeling in the world that is as moving."

Maya Z: "It was the first time I felt a strong connection with my religion. Seeing so many Jewish people pray in one place, makes me feel like I belong. I wrote a “petek” (note) and stuck it inside the wall. I felt like all my prayers would be answered. Afterwards, we all went to the Mount Hertzl cemetery. At first I felt sad and I did not know what to do. I had this emotional reaction to someone I don't even know. It was moving to see the fallen IDF soldiers graves, including Michael Levine, Max Steinberg, and others. To our surprise Michael Levine's parents were there as we were learning about him. It was such an honor meeting the parents of someone who quickly became my hero. I felt such energy run into me and out of me. It was a very emotional experience and a different type of feeling, and I liked it. "

More reflections to come from our students as we continue our journey...

Camel Ride in Israel

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