Our students have made it to Israel! Their flight on El Al Airline’s shiny new plane was very exciting and comfortable. When they were not asleep, students kept themselves entertained by watching movies. They were amazing on the plane and represented their schools and themselves beautifully!
The chaperone team – Jessica Lieberman, Mr. Heckler, Morah Mira, Lisa Beckford, Mr. Glasco and Nurse Nicole Nugent – go above and beyond. They are doing an amazing job of answering students’ questions and keeping everyone together and organized. Passport control at Ben Gurion Airport went smoothly. There was no crowd and they sailed through, got their bags and met trip guides Beni, Yoav and Or who will be with them for the duration of the trip.
Once they cleared the airport, they loaded the bus and drove briefly to a lookout point near Tel Aviv where they learned a yoga pose to make their bodies into the shape of the map of Israel. See Charlia modeling the pose in the photo across. Next they stopped at a former kibbutz where they had their first aruchat eser (mid morning snack) of burekas and rugelach. In 1948 this kibbutz also hid a bullet factory.
The students learned all the ingenious ways kibbutzniks (members) hid the sounds and smells from their neighbors as well as from the British government in mandate Palestine. Ask your kids about all the neat things they saw and learned and have them tell you what a “giraffe” is. Later they went to old Yafo, walked through hundred-year-old stone streets and made their way to a hill with a view (see photo) where they learned about the history of the first Hebrew city —Tel Aviv.
They did so much more. They went to the place where Israel’s Declaration of Independence was signed. The proud Israeli guide was not so happy with fluttering eyelids but our students couldn’t help it in the post lunch tiredness. Nevertheless, the staff and students handled themselves with so much decorum. Next they walked through to South Tel Aviv and learned about the dilemma that big cities around the world face when economic immigrants and refugees come seeking shelter and a better life.
There, they learned about Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers along with Thai, Indian, Philipino workers and how Israel’s system differs from America.
The students left their last activity of the day with a question: does life in South Tel Aviv have to be this way, what should be done to help?
Although tired and begging to go to the hotel, some students said that after all the happy stories they heard about Israel’s miraculous founding and survival, they were most moved when discussing the stories of Tel Aviv’s rough neighborhood.
By the end of they day they were all ready to go to sleep. Tomorrow they will explore Israel both ancient and hyper-contemporary. Stay tuned!