While traveling to Israel this week with the eighth grade, I read a blog by Kristi Hedges about the impact and power of first impressions. She shared that, according to some researchers, our first impressions can be highly accurate. We take a few seconds of interaction to “thin slice” and learn an incredible amount. Others, however, have demonstrated that these same first impressions can be incredibly arbitrary and then our interactions are based upon this point. Reading this got me thinking about our eighth graders’ initial impressions of Israel. One of the goals of our trip is to cement the relationship between our students and Israel. How were we doing at the beginning of this important experience?
We asked them to give us a one word description of their experience so far. Here are their words:

Pretty
Beautiful
Community
Surprising
Crazy
Interesting
Food
Amazing
Holy
Scenic
Different
Israel
Awesome
Exciting
New
Diverse
Trees
Memories
Unbelievable
Speechless
Tired
Yallah
Yes!
Historic
Sabbabbah

Our goal over the remaining two weeks in our trip is to continue to build upon these first impressions.

Hedges writes that “we have two thought systems: system 1, which is fast, intuitive and emotional; and system 2, which is slow, contemplative and logical.”  Our trip is designed to touch on both of these systems whether we are walking the streets of Jerusalem or listening to our guide share with us the history of landmarks along the road. Hearing these initial reflections of our students confirms that they are using both of these thought systems.

If you’d like to enjoy the trip vicariously, please take a look at the Facebook album and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Our students are also writing longer reflections to share how the trip is impacting them via blogs on our website.

Shabbat Shalom from Tzfat,

Dr. Ari Yares
Head of School

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