By Stacey Dresner
LONGMEADOW – The middle school students at Heritage Academy in Longmeadow recently went on the day school’s bi-annual trip to Israel. From Feb. 8-22, the seventh- and eighth-graders travelled around Israel, from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, from Tsfat to Masada. Their activities ranged from digging at an archeology site, riding camels in the desert and sleeping in a Bedouin tent, to meeting their peers in Afula-Gilboa. The visit was led by Heritage educators Tali and Yehuda Edry.
The children wrote stories about their experiences. Here are some excerpts:
We went to all different types of places from museums to mountains to all of the great cities of Israel. But we also went to one of the saddest places in Israel, and that is Yad Vashem…Afterwards we came to the righteous gentiles area where I found my great grandparents names on the wall. There I felt extremely proud for what they did.
At the archaeology dig we learned what a ‘tel’ is – a man-made mountain from different generations of people building layers upon layers of bases for cities…we walked into one of the rooms and started to dig with shovels and scrapers. Most of us found objects like pieces of vases or charcoal. We all had a lot of fun on the Israel trip and not just fun, we learned more about each other and because we know more about each other we feel more like brothers and sisters.
We drove for half an hour, until we reached a small school on the outskirts of Afula…we went to their school to go on a tour. The school was agricultural, meaning they grew a variety plants and took care of many animals along with the normal education. We made pita bread with them, ate falafel, and got back on the bus. It was sad to see our new Israeli friends go, but we made plans to keep in touch.
This trip to Israel was my first one. When I arrived, I felt like every part of my life had led up to this moment. But it wasn’t until I got to the summit point of Mt. Arbel, that I felt the beauty of the Jewish state. It was my first Shacharit (morning prayer) on the trip. We received our siddurim with special notes from our parents and I began to wrap my tefillin. I we sat as a group looking out at the amazing view, and it was at this moment that I went: ‘Wow, life is beautiful.’
-Adeena Bromberg Seltzer
On Tuesday we went to the Ramon center. It was near a large crater called the Ramon Crater. Then we went to a small mountain that looked somewhat like a camel…We were told that Ben-Gurion liked to come there to meditate. I meditated…If you’re ever in Israel and have a problem, go to the Ramon crater to meditate on it.
We arrived at the Dead Sea after hiking up and down Masada…We all ran in, squatted then leaned back and you were floating!! It was so cool to be able to just sit back and not have to worry about staying afloat.
On Feb. 18, the class went to Robinson’s Arch to celebrate my bar mitzvah. It was really special and it was great to have my friends there to celebrate with… Then we went to the Lone Soldier’s Center in Jerusalem…we learned about Lone Soldiers, and we also talked to them, which was really cool…The soldiers were really nice. One soldier even came from South Africa and was really funny.