The following letter was written to Jacob Solomon, Executive Vice President of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation
I wanted to tell you about the wonderful experience Greenfield Day Schools' 8th grade students had in Or Akiva on Yom Hzikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut as part of our first ever 8th grade trip to Israel.
We were greeted most hospitably by the Ulpanit school, who housed our students in their homes for two nights, treated us to a tour of Caesarea, an authentic and moving Yom Hazikaron ceremony (both in the evening and morning; inviting us to participate in the morning ceremony by allowing our school to purchase and place flowers on the stage and wreaths on the graves), showed us what it is like to go from grief to joy as part of the City's Yom Ha'atzmaut celebration, introduced us and allowed us to have a meet and greet with the Mayor, and bonded with our students so much that all the students cried as we parted ways at the end of our two days.
We have made a commitment to continue our strong relationship with the Or Akiva Ulpanit school by creating Tzedakah projects in our school to aid their endeavors (particularly in the English language program) and will be doing inter-curricular assignments of the course of the coming years to allow our students to learn together before we meet in Israel.
In only two short days in Or Akiva, our students were given a view of life in Israel, different than that of a tourist.
They were able to use the Hebrew that they learned as students in Greenfield and left Or Akiva wanting more to experience living and giving to the land of Israel.
Through the rest of our experience in Israel, travelling as far as Mitzpeh Ramon and as far north as the Golan Heights, our students fulfilled the dream of our school, in everything that we wanted in an 8th grade Israel trip.
They were able to culminate their experiences at Greenfield by realizing all that they have learned and all that is left for them to discover.
They know now more than ever that as they leave our school the demands on them for their commitment to Israel and to the Jewish community lies on their shoulders.
Thanks to our Moreh, Yossi Katz from the Alexander Muss Israel Institute for Education, our students know that they are the future leaders.
Daniel R. Weiss
Director of Judaic Studies