Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Jewish Academy eighth graders' trip to Israel

One of the highlights of the Selznick Middle School at the Jewish Academy of Orlando is the eighth-grade trip to Israel. This year, 11 students, accompanied by their teacher, Idit Lotringer, traveled to Israel for a 12-day trip that changed their lives. For most of the students, this was their first trip to Israel and they have come back inspired and transformed.

During their time in Israel, the students visited Tel Aviv, Haifa and the north of Israel. Near Haifa, the students visited a school in Orlando’s sister city, Kfar Motzkin, and spent time with students there. In the words of eighth-grade student Eli F., “when I went to the school in Kfar Motzkin, I felt connected because they welcomed us with open arms and made us feel like we have been their friends for years... I felt connected to my Judaism because I could share my thoughts with the other students and I felt like I was a part of them.”

The highlight, of course, for many of the students was the Shabbat they spent in Jerusalem. Eighth-grade student Nadav W. said his highlight “...was Friday night in Jerusalem. We first went to the Kotel and did Kabbalat Shabbat and then got brought into a dance... afterwards while walking back to the hotel a group started singing and we joined in. After they had left we kept singing the song. Israel was an amazing trip!”

“At the Jewish Academy of Orlando, we believe that it is imperative for our students to have many opportunities to interact positively with Israel, and this trip is a culmination of many years of active learning and engagement with Israel. Having a strong connection with Israel will help foster a strong and positive Jewish identity for our children today and into the future. We are very proud of our students and we know that their stories and experiences that they have shared will inspire our younger students as well as our entire school and community,” said Alan Rusonik, head of school.

For more information about the Jewish Academy of Orlando or to arrange a visit to the school, please contact Jessica Mishael, admissions manager, at jmishael@myjao.org or 407-647-0713.


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