Middle School Israel Trip
The 8th grade trip to Israel explores several themes in order to help students form concrete, personal, and meaningful connections to the land and state of Israel. We experience Israel's natural environment from the challenges of the wilderness to the lushness of the north. We encounter our history as a people in Israel from biblical to contemporary times through all its rich and varied manifestations. And we interact with a modern and vibrant State of Israel full of diverse people who contribute to a complex society, celebrating her many awesome accomplishments and reflecting upon the significant challenges she faces.
The study of Israel is a theme woven throughout the Middle School curriculum, both in Judaic and General Studies. The language, culture, history, geography, holidays, personalities, and current events of Israel permeate the daily life of the school. The Ivrit and Humanities curricula serve as central vehicles for teaching about the land, people, and establishment of the State of Israel.
The Ivrit program draws on materials that reflect the modern state of Israel during its early formative years up to today. Through novels, poems, short stories, newspaper accounts and song lyrics, students are exposed to many views of Israel past and present.
An inter-disciplinary Zionist history unit in the 8th grade traces the historical connection to and yearning for the land in the Tanach and from Rabbinic sources through the founding of the State in 1948. Students study many aspects of the latter half of the 19th century, including the impact of the Haskalah (Enlightenment), the rise of anti-Semitism, assimilation and the solutions generated for the future survival of the Jewish People. Religious, political, cultural, and labor Zionism are studied, and we examine who came to Israel during each aliyah (wave of immigration) and why, how they interacted with the indigenous Arab population, their cultural legacies and how they contributed to the establishment of Israel. We learn about Israel's founding principles, the wars she has fought, her challenges and opportunities in seeking to reconcile with neighboring populations and countries, her ongoing evolution as an ethnically and religiously diverse country, and her incredible innovativeness and resourcefulness throughout time.