Israel Week Recap By Jeremy Toren
This year’s Israel Week provided all upper school students with a chance to contemplate their understanding of, and relationship to, the state of Israel. First, we welcomed eight visitors – six students and two teachers – from our sister region in Shaar Hanegev in southern Israel. Our guests spent the entire week visiting classrooms, interacting with SDJA students, and teaching us about life in Israel and what it’s like to live so close to the Gaza border.
Israel Week was also loaded with activities and programs designed to bring a taste of Israel to our students. We kicked off the week on Monday morning during Community Time with an activity in which our high school students explored their conceptions of Israel while snacking on pita and Israeli salad. We also built a Bedouin tent in the quad, and students were invited to visit the tent every day to answer trivia questions and complete tasks in exchange for different Israeli treats – pita, hummus, labneh cheese, chocolate spread, and many more. They were also welcome to come to the tent simply to hang out with our guests, play some sheshbesh (backgammon), and sip some ice kafeh – a blended coffee drink that is immensely popular in Israel. We culminated with our Israel Week Symposia, in which a variety of classes from the middle school and the high school shared some of their learning with their peers.
Special thanks to Kesem Cohen, our Israeli shlichah, who worked tirelessly to make sure we had a wide variety of activities and treats in the tent. Thanks also to the families and students who hosted our visitors and spent their precious free time helping the Israelis feel more comfortable. Can’t wait for another Israel Week next year!