13 May Dispatch 2 from Israel

Ten days into the 8th grade Israel trip the students have had many powerful experiences.  I asked each of them what moments stand out as being most meaningful. Their responses express the impact the trip is having on them.

As we left the airport and began our travels, Noah P. was struck by the idea that we were actually in the land he had studied about in school for so many years.

Micah and Noa L. found hiking in the Land of Israel to be special. Micah enjoyed the hike of Mt. Arbel, in the Galil and said that it was fun to hike down the mountain and interesting to learn about the history of caves dug into the sides of the cliffs. Noa L. said that hiking in Ein Ovdat in the Negev was challenging, especially climbing out of the ravine. When she reached the top she felt accomplished and as she took in the beautiful desert scenery she cherished the land.

Esther and Hanna B.A. felt that the bike ride in Emek Hahula was a highlight. Esther said that riding in the beautiful nature reserve and fresh air was very peaceful. Hanna liked riding the bicycle and was glad to do it together with her whole class, something they don’t get to do together back in New York City.

The social opportunities of the trip were also noted by Hannah S., Noa D., and Stella.  Hannah and Noa both remembered fondly when our tour bus had a flat tire and we had to wait for it to be repaired. We spent that time together in a park area, sitting on the grass and playing games. Hannah liked that the students weren’t upset but rather it became a great moment for getting to know kids from Schechter of Greater Hartford who were traveling with us. Noa said that it was meaningful social time and she felt good about getting to know the other students. Stella said that singing on the bus with the other students made her feel like she was a part of a community of both old and new friends.

Ben liked experiencing Shabbat in a new way in an Israeli home and with some of his friends.

Amnon said the Yom Ha’zikaron ceremony with the community in Mitzpe Ramon meant a lot to him as he learned more about the six day war. The music reminded him of his grandfather, who he knows liked those songs.

Michael also found a moment related to the security of Israel meaningful, when we went to Mitzpe Gadot in the Golan Heights and learned that before 1967 Syria would shoot artillery down onto the settlements of the Galil below. He said that he realized that it is important to have a Jewish state that can protect Jews from threats.

Jonah, Joseph, Lindsey, Molly, and Olivia all said that our visit to the Kotel yesterday was very meaningful. Jonah said that he felt a connection to Jewish history, since the wall had survived through the ages. Joseph said that he was surprised how the Kotel courtyard was buzzing with life and joy. He was impressed to see all different types of Jews coming together to pray in their own ways. Lindsey said that when she got up close to the Kotel she expressed her personal questions and concerns and felt closer to God. Molly and Olivia both found our group’s t’filah at the Kotel to be very special. Molly read from the Torah, and said that doing something that Jews have done for so many years in a place with such a long history was beautiful. Olivia was emotional about having led our t’filot at the Kotel. She said that everything she learned about t’filah and spirituality came together in one special moment.

We will spend Shabbat together in Jerusalem, and, like so many of the amazing aspects of our trip already, I expect it will be a meaningful experience for us all.

Shabbat shalom

Benjamin Mann

Author’s Chair




The students in Gan looked through an assortment of books by Eric Carle, and noticed recurring themes and asked questions about what they saw:


Thar r difrit shaps (There are different shapes)



Wi Das He Mak Anamuls (Why does he make animals?)

–Ethan T.


Each anamol has ithr colr (Each animal has another color)




The students of Kitah Bet reflected on whether or not they like the character they are reading about in their book club.

I like my character because Humphrey’s very cute. I also like my character because we have some of the same personality trairt like: Were both curius, scared, kind, we both have friends, and thats it. Oh! He tries to find out what the movie of ancient egypt is about.



I like my character because he is a boy like me and boys are cool. Another reason why is we both like football because he plays football with Scooter. A reason I don’t like my character is he has a dog and I don’t so that make me Jeluses and his dog is ribsy.



I like my character because he is not shy like when he was fiteing for his rites. I like my character becaus he injous (enjoys) dogs  like how he has a dog named Ribsy.



I like Humphrey because he can help people with probloms like helping Hidi to raise her hand. Humphrey also is nice to new people like Tabathia. I would like Humphrey in our class because I want a pet.



I like Henry because he is nice like when someone felt bad Henry helped them fele better. Another reson I like Henry is that he is cares about his friends. Like when someone lost their football Henry helped looking for it.



The students of Kitah Dalet learned the haggadah text “b’chol dor vador chayav adam lirot et atzmo k’ilu hu yatzah memitzrayim.” They then wrote or illustrated their own ideas about what it would have been like to leave Egypt, and how the seder helps us see ourselves as having left Egypt.


Click here to read Shoshana’s.

Click here to read Elijah’s.

Click here to read Yaeli’s.



Kitah Vav students created comic strips illustrating the life of a master, journeyman, or an apprentice, in becoming part of a guild during the Middle Ages.


Click here to read Ittai’s comic.

Click here to read Jacob’s comic.

Click here to read Jeremy’s comic.

Click here to read Joshua’s comic.

Click here to read Lucien’s comic.

Click here to read Ziv’s comic.