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Israel Journey

Israel Journey 2013

The first JCoSS Israel Journey opened with a reading by Yehuda Amichai.  The poem ‘Tourists’ was written with tour groups in mind.  Amichai finishes his poem with a plea:

I said to myself: redemption will come only if their guide tells them,
“You see that arch from the Roman period? It’s not important: but next to it,
left and down a bit, there sits a man who’s bought fruit and vegetables for his family.”

The Year 9’s spent a whistle stop two weeks exploring the beauty and the challenges of Israel.  We travelled from Tel Aviv, to the Western Galil region; from the tip of Mount Meron to the lowest point on earth the Dead Sea and Ein Gedi; students floated down the Jordan River and splashed in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea; they reflected at Yad Vashem and felt moved at Mount Herzl.

They met with young Israelis, Bedouins, Druze and Arab Israelis; they asked questions, reflected, challenged each other, laughed and cried together.

The JCoSS Israel Journey was not a holiday, they were up too early and to bed too late for that.  It was an opportunity for our students and teachers alike to understand what this small country in the Middle East means to each one of us, and for the Jewish People.  We all felt moved, we all felt changed in some way or another, we all felt inspired and we all felt utter gratitude for the most wonderful life changing trip.

 כשם שהתלמידים חייבין בכבוד הרב כך הרב צריך לכבד את תלמידיו ולקרבן, כך אמרו חכמים יהי כבוד תלמידך חביב עליך כשלך, וצריך אדם להזהר בתלמידיו ולאוהבם שהם הב� ים המה� ים לעולם הזה ולעולם הבא

Just as the pupils are required to honour the teacher, so the teacher ought to be courteous and friendly towards their pupils. The sages said: “Let the honour of your student be as dear to you as your own” (Pirkei Avot, 4:15). One should be interested in one’s pupils and love them, for they are the spiritual children who give pleasure in this world and in the world to come.

After two weeks in Israel with 79 Year 9 students the bond that has been created between student and teacher is profound.  We have all seen each other out of the school setting, learnt to trust each other, take care of each other and have found new levels of respect for each other.

The students made us all proud, as they packed food packages for the poor, volunteered on kibbutz, played with young survivors at Save a Child’s Heart, picked kohlrabi in the fields of the North, milked cows:  In so many ways they grew into responsible young adults, who were praised by El Al and the other passengers for their fantastic behaviour on their way home (nothing to do with their utter exhaustion!).

I feel blessed to have had the most wonderful staff team, in Israel and back home, and feel humbled by the students’ commitment and enthusiasm for the journey.  May we see the impact of this journey on school life at JCoSS throughout their school careers.

Ms E Robinson
Assistant Headteacher, Director of Jewish Education

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