This year, we all had the opportunity to go to Israel for two weeks so that we could experience the things that we had learned about at Yavneh. However, the question of why would we go to Israel instead of Washington D.C., as other classes have in the past, keeps coming up. After learning about Israel for most of my life, it is amazing to get to experience it in person and learn even more while experiencing it. Also, even if we hadn’t been learning about Israel all this time, we still go to a Jewish school and learn Hebrew as our second language so we also got a chance to see the country of our religion and to speak some Hebrew that we learned in a real-life situation.
The trip has also changed our class dynamic in a few ways. First of all, the trip helped us become even closer as a class. Also, since all of us are already friends, it made the trip even more fun getting to experience it all with some of our closest friends. Secondly, because we felt the importance of the places that we visited, we proved that we can rise to the occasion and be fully engaged. For example, when we were at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum, the whole class was attentive and taking everything in. I was particularly moved by the children’s memorial. As you walk in, the room darkens and you see what appears to be hundreds of candles lit up all around you; however, it is only one candle reflected by hundreds of mirrors. As you walk through, you can hear the names and ages of children that were killed in the Holocaust. It was very impactful hearing the names of very young children and even babies who were killed so early on in life — the Holocaust could have been all they knew.
The fact that we learn about the Holocaust in seventh grade, lead Yavneh’s Yom Ha Shoah Tekes, and then visit Yad Vashem in Israel, really helps us understand the full scope of what happened. I think that going to Israel is very important for Yavneh and should definitely be continued in future years.