In keeping with the tradition of the past few years, ten 10th grade students from the High School for Environmental Education at Midreshet Ben-Gurion left on a delegation to the Jewish community in Denver.
The process began last year, with interviews and preparation sessions in which we learned about Judaism and the relationship between Israel and the Jewish communities abroad. We even organized Hebrew learning activities for the American kids.
We set off in early September, very excited and not really knowing what to expect. At the Denver airport we were greeted by our 10th grade friends from the Denver Jewish Day School, whom we were very glad to meet!
During our two and a half week stay in Denver, we were privileged to get a glimpse of Jewish life in the US, to understand what a Jewish community is (for instance, how people pray at Reform and Conservative synagogues), and most of all, to get to know our new-found friends better. Together, we went on a lot of field trips, and even spent a whole weekend at a summer camp, just like you see in American movies. We talked with them about our Jewish identity and the connection between it and our “Israeliness”. They shared with us what being Jewish means for them, and we found out that we have an awful lot in common.
In between, we went into classes at the Denver Jewish Day School and taught Hebrew to younger students. We were very impressed with the way the school looks and operates, with large, spacious classrooms, all colorful and well-kept. We joined the older students for Hebrew and Judaism classes, and among other things, we shared our experiences from Operation ‘Protective edge’, which had ended just a few days before we left for Denver. They were moved to hear what we had been through, and asked us many questions about what it felt like to be in such a situation.
Like any student at the High School for Environmental Education, we couldn’t wait to tour the area, and see for ourselves the impressive mountains that surround Denver. The field trips were excellent and there, too, we were glad to have an opportunity to climb as high as possible.
We want to thank everyone who made our delegation happen – Mayor Shmulik Rifman and Eran Doron, Raz Arbel, Shira Tamir and our high school staff.
We can’t wait to meet our friends from Denver when they arrive in December!
Sivan Shachari, head of the ICE delegation, on behalf of all the ICE members