Thursday, January 20, 2011

JSU South Florida Goes Israel To See Young Judaea’s Year Course – Day 5

(from left to right) Ido Amar (Israel) , Jamie Sistino (Florida), Michael Duke (Texas), Josh Broide (Florida), Dalia Orion Oz (California) & Yael Gavronsky (New York) - The group that got to see Young Judaea's Year Course program and had a great experience.
The final day of this fantastic Young Judaea Israel experience is here and now that it’s Tu B’shvat we spent the morning celebrating the holiday planting trees with Year Course students. As it turns out we all participated in a JNF tree planting program along with dozens of other schools with more than a thousand children from neighboring communities. Most of the children were in elementary school and it was amazing to see their ruach and enthusiasm for the exercise. They were all signing and cheering as they approached the mountain and each of them had the opportunity to plant their own tree. That is something that has been lost in many of the Jewish educational programs outside of Israel. I could just picture and American teacher quieting down their students and making sure that no one stepped out of line. I can’t even describe the children’s excitement for what some American children would have been considered boring and mundane. The children were not concerned about getting their hands dirty while planting; they all had a sense of purpose.

From there we headed to the next program, a hike through the mountains and fields of Israel. But the beauty of the hike is unlike hiking in America or any other part of the world. This hike was in a very significant location. Anyone who is a student of Jewish History and is familiar with the Bible knows the famous story of David and Goliath. Well the students got to walk the trail and see the location where that battle occurred. In Israel everyone can literally see Jewish history comes alive. You are no longer looking at the lesson in a history book or watching a show on the History Channel, but you are walking in our ancestor’s footsteps. The hike ended in the area that has the hidden caves and tunnels that were used during the Bar Kochba revolt during the 2nd century. It’s great to see the teenagers doing an activity such as walking the length and breadth of the land of Israel, but it’s even more impressive when their teachers and tour guides teach them about the significance of a particular place. Some of the students are actually excited to finally see the places that they had often looked at as stories, others who did not have the background and were not familiar with the story, were know interested in learning more about the events that had unfolded.

We then headed back to the main Year Course campus in Jerusalem where we had a final wrap up session with the leadership of the program. This trip really opened my eyes to an incredible experience that I didn’t know much about. Every professional plays such an important role in ensuring the success of Year Course and I know that this is a great choice for the students that I meet in the JSU Clubs in South Florida.

If you would like to hear more about the experience, tune into my radio show at 9:00am Eastern Time in America – just click on the following link
Inspire yourself to inspire others….

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