Not surprising, but one of the questions that the younger siblings of our eighth graders asked, upon their return from Israel, was, “What did you bring me?” It’s not that the siblings are selfish, but knowing that their older brother or sister brought them a gift meant that the older sibling was thinking about the younger sibling during the trip. For the younger child, it is a tangible way of knowing that they are loved (and you can see this from the big smiles on their faces when you ask them about the new Israeli t-shirt that they are wearing in school).

As our oldest students, our 8th graders are responsible not just for bringing back a gift for their siblings, but also a gift for the younger students at Schechter. Today, this gift materialized in the Yom Yerushalayim presentation prepared by the 8th graders. More than just your traditional post-vacation slideshow, it was an interactive experience guiding our younger students through the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 with a wide variety of activities designed to help share the connection to Israel that our 8th graders now have. Combined with reflections, music and images (and, of course, food), they developed and implemented a multi-sensory experience with the help of their teacher, Cheryl Stone. This medley of images, words and experiences brought us together to celebrate Yom Yerushalayim and relive the Israel trip through the eyes of the 8th graders.

The gift wasn’t a t-shirt with a funny Israeli logo, but sharing their excitement from the trip. Their enthusiasm on this day, dedicated to the capital of Israel encourages the next cohort of students to be just as excited for their 8th grade Israel trip and build our love of Israel.

Shabbat Shalom,

Dr. Ari Yares
Head of School

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