Each year, Memphis Jewish Federation provides a travel subsidy from the Lemsky Endowment Fund for students making the Bornblum Jewish Community School 8th Grade Trip to Israel. About ten students make the journey each year and return to Memphis with tangible personal connections to Israel. In this series, we’ll publish the letters this year’s travelers wrote the Federation thanking us for the opportunity to make this special pilgrimage. Read all the students’ letters here.
“My Reflections on Israel” for Memphis Jewish Federation
In Israel we were able to have many learning experiences! On our archaeological sifting project, our group had found a fragment of an ancient coin. We were not sure when or where it was from; all they were able to identify was that it was a small fragment of an engraved rare coin.
At Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, it was extremely impactful to be in the land these people suffered for—Israel. We had an amazing tour guide, and going through the exhibit was a culmination of everything we learned in class. And while learning about the Holocaust, I also learned about the other victims. Then we discovered the life of Theodore Herzl, the man who made Zionism popular, and established the first Zionist Congress. His plan worked out, although it took time, and many couldn’t believe that Israel can be a reality.
We also experienced the many cultures of the land. As in the form of the Bedouins, which is a small minority. We enjoyed their hospitality through the best tasting tea and limitless amounts of food. Next, we visited Mount Masada. At Masada, it was extremely hard to climb up and down. It just hurts my legs to think about having to walk up there in armor and creating a path!
Then there was Shabbat at the Western Wall with lots and lots of people. It was amazing to see so many people freely celebrating their Judaism! I want to share next about the Chaim Weizman Institute of Science, which was spawned from Chaim Weizman learning how to synthesize acetone. It was amazing to see how many inventions started at this institute that was named after the first president of Israel.
Then we celebrated Yom Ha’Atzmaut where we could see so many people celebrating their love of their country and their pride in being independent, and of being Israelis!
After that, we ventured to the Galilee and saw the shockingly beautiful landscapes, and the Rosh Hanikra Grottoes, and we visited Tfad where they have a candle factory with all the stories we learned from the bible depicted in wax. Israel is thoroughly amazing, and I can’t wait to visit there again one day!