Unless you’ve taken a trip to Israel (or experienced Mrs. Klein’s “virtual tour” over a 12-week period), chances are that creating some connection to this incredible land is a little difficult. The hardest part is not locating it on the map, despite the fact that it covers less acreage than the state of Rhode Island. The real question is: how do we evoke a feeling about Israel that will help our students create a meaningful relationship with her?
I’ve always found that creating a concrete understanding works best to reinforce a message, so this year, we have planned a new “one day intensive extravaganza” that will bring food, music, archaeology, history and a unique “You’re in the Army Now – Israeli gadna” program to TRT. On February 25, from 10-3 p.m. for all our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, we have invited Amit Shuker, a lieutenant in the Israeli Army Special Forces, to present a simulation of an Israeli Army Basic Training program, to learn by experience how these values of trust, respect, cooperation and leadership have become an integral part of each soldier’s life. We want our students to discover their own abilities to lead, work as a team and interact with others. By participating in this exercise, we hope our students will:
- make a connection to the state of Israel by taking part in the Israeli culture
- hear Hebrew by learning new words from the daily Hebrew language
- bring the Hebrew language and the Israeli culture to the kids’ hearts and minds
while experiencing it in an exciting way
- understand that Israel is “the home of all Jews”
- support Israel and raise awareness of Israel for children of the next generation
Following a brief Israeli lunch and song session, we will offer four short workshops that will include the following on their tour:
1. Jerusalem, where they will create prayers for the Wall
2. Tel Aviv, where they will view a “museum” of Israeli objects/documents
3. The Golan, where they will build a kibbutz in Legos
4. Masada/Dead Sea, where they will sift through sand to discover ancient artifacts.
Is there more to see and experience? You bet, but this is a tangible introduction to the land, language and spirit of Modern Israel. If you want to be a part of this day, please let us know and we will include you.
One day, perhaps, you and your children will visit the actual sites described above, and build on the emotional foundation we have instilled in you at TRT.
L’Shalom and l’hitraot (see you soon),
Rabbi Shira Stern