The inaugural Brandeis 8th Grade Israel Trip took place in the spring of 2007. At the time, there were multiple travel options available to our students, including visits to Yosemite and Washington, D.C. In 2010, it was decided, both because of the cost associated with multiple excursions and time spent away from the classroom, that there would be one annual overnight trip. The opportunity for Brandeis students to experience Israel, a land so important to our school and vital to our curriculum, made the decision easy and thus was born the Annual 8th Grade Israel Trip, the pinnacle of our student’s experiential education. Our students were notable to visit Israel in 2020 and 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this year we are happy to share that the restrictions were lifted and our beloved tradition was reinstated.
At Brandeis, the study of Israel is a key subject central to student learning and one of the five pillars of our Enduring Understandings of Jewish Education
. Like the Enduring Understandings, the trip to Israel synthesizes many years of study which imparts on our students a deep connection to Israel and its people. The history of Israel (ancient and modern), arts and culture, geography, and traditions come to life for our students in this sacred homeland of the Jewish people.
“At Brandeis, we endeavor to graduate students who are engaged with Israel, ready to deepen their understanding of the challenges it faces, leading to a meaningful, lifelong connection to the Land, the State, and its inhabitants. The 8th Grade Israel Trip has a central role in realizing this vision,” says Debby Arzt-Mor, Director of Jewish Learning. While traveling across Israel, students explore, learn, pray, and play together while securing the bonds of their friendships on the eve of their graduation from Brandeis. This journey is meant to be a defining moment in their education at Brandeis - one in which Israel becomes a real place and a meaningful experience in their lives.
Jenny Rinn, Director of Lower School and one of this year’s chaperones on the trip shared it best in her summary of what the Israel Trip contributes to the education of our students, “As this trip rounds out their Brandeis education, so does it commence new beginnings and perspectives. As our soon-to-be graduates anticipate the transition to high school, we hope they embrace the unknown that lies ahead of them with wonder and awe. The Israel Trip is a practice of welcoming new possibilities with enthusiasm and curiosity.”
And with that, I say “Mazel Tov!” to the Class of 2022 who will be graduating in just a few short weeks. May you go far and accomplish your heart’s dreams. Our teachers, parents, grandparents, friends, and our entire community support them now and always on their journey.