Being in Israel (during Parshat Vayeitzei in which Jacob dreams of a ladder - Sulam) with 19 Sulam students being integrated and included in every aspect of the Mission has been an uplifting experience for every single person here.
Right from the beginning, our trip has been highly co-ordinated and so well prepared that somehow getting all 211 students through the airport, through security and onto the airplane was smooth and seamless. We travelled straight to Hispin and after dinner our exhausted travelers went straight to bed. The next morning, in spite of rain (Israeli’s call that “good weather” because rain is desperately needed), the students joined different tour buses that took them to various venues in the Golan.
Friday night saw a deeply spiritual Shabbat service in which students sang with joy and emotion. The following day contained many moments in which our students were welcomed, celebrated and included. Moishe Leiman was given an aliyah on Shabbos morning. The entire Berman and Sulam student community and faculty were touched by his kavanah. After havdalah Miriam Licht was encircled by the girls and together they sang Shavua Tov. Throughout the day we saw many moments in which our students were happily walking around the grounds of our beautiful surroundings in the Golan (there were cows roaming around!), and laughing and talking among friends.
With 211 very tired and excited teenagers spending lots of time together, the incredible team of Sulam and Berman staff have been a constant presence and source of support in helping everyone feel comfortable, included and happy.
The Mission to Israel is a powerful opportunity for students to connect with their incredible heritage, and a land that we can call our own. If our first few days are an indication to how the rest of the trip will continue I am optimistic that each child will come home being transformed in some very positive way by their experience, G-d willing.
Parents whose children are in middle and lower school - G-d willing your children will also have this amazing opportunity in their high school years!