The Student News Site of Jewish Leadership Academy

The Inkwell

The Inkwell

The Inkwell

The Student News Site of Jewish Leadership Academy

The Inkwell

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Our Month In Israel

JLA Ba’aretz
Our+Month+In+Israel

When asked what makes this school special, the first thing that comes to mind is JLA Ba’aretz. After experiencing it firsthand, I can attest that it is truly special. My first year at JLA Ba’Aretz is an experience I will never forget. It was filled with laughter and good memories. Moreover, it was a meaningful way to connect, and it is truly the reason we became more than just a high school. 

From the moment we entered the airport there was a mixture of excitement and anxiety buzzing all around. We had met each other a few times before, but this was it, go time. We were about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. It is crazy to think about the concept of this trip. A bunch of kids, who don’t know each other, heading across the world to study abroad and become a family. 

JLA designed this trip to be different from any other school trip.  It is wise that it takes place every year, as it builds a sense of belonging to Israel.  The fact that it lasts for an entire month gives us the opportunity to really feel the country and the culture.  Having this adventure begin on the first day of school builds connections and relationships with an intensity that would never happen were it any other time. 

A big part of our newfound connection to the land of Israel were the numerous trips we took. The trip that was the most memorable to a majority of the class was the last trip to Jerusalem. We were there from September 7th to September 9th. We started off this tiyul (trip in Hebrew) by davening Selichot at the Kotel. The sheer amount of people present showed the magnitude of our connection, not only with each other as a Jewish nation, but also our connection with Hashem. The visit to the Kotel was only the beginning of the spiritual connection on our last Israeli expedition. The next day we went to the Kotel again to start Shabbat. Although we were separated, the school still managed to stay together in order to pray into Shabbat together. We prayed, sang, and bonded throughout this entire stay and it was an amazing final hurrah. 

What began as a group of strangers, wondering how we would fit together, ended as a family of friends that will grow together and lean on each other.  What was a country we heard about from prayer books and family members, and perhaps had visited with family, took on a whole new meaning. It became a home that brought this family together. It taught us to be understanding, caring, to sing together, to lift each other up, to fill the air with laughter even when some were homesick. We now have a second home and a second family we will gladly look forward to visiting every year.

 

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