This past Tuesday, 11th and 12th graders gathered to listen to several presentations by an organization called Israel-is. Their main goal is to connect young Israelis with people from all over the world in order to talk about Israel and fight antisemitism. They believe that these meaningful conversations can impact how Israel is viewed by the rest of the world.
Morah Twito, who is in charge of student activities and organized this special event, explained how there was a huge turnout for the event and how Hebrew Academy was able “to showcase our school and the maturity of our students which was very important”.
In the past two years, the school has not been able to organize an Israel trip due to Covid restrictions. This left out some grades from having the special experience of meeting IDF soldiers in Israel. It was very important for the 11th and 12th graders, specifically, to attend this event due to these circumstances.
“For our kids this year that were classes who didn’t visit Israel and have that experience as a class in Israel, meeting these soldiers face to face added a lot of touch to it. So whatever they missed, they got a little bit of it now” said Morah Twito.
The program was divided into two parts. In the first part, Colonel Richard Kemp spoke about his experience in the British army before deciding to help the IDF and support Israel. Whenever the media asks him about his views on Israel and how they are handling the Palestinian conflict, he always knows how to state the facts to show the truth and support Israel. Although he is Roman Catholic, students saw how significant it is to have allies who are willing to defend Israel to the rest of the world.
“The first piece of the general presentation to everybody was very meaningful to most, especially the one given by Colonel Richard Kemp. The kids really loved him; he’s a great speaker and a really funny one” explained Morah Twito.
Then, the students were split up into three groups to go and listen to lone soldiers’ memorable experiences in the IDF and Israel at large. Each soldier had completely different backgrounds but all decided to join the IDF to aid Israel in any way they could.
“I like to see the inside perspective of a soldier and hearing about what they did before and after and the impact it had on them. It was interesting to the different languages they speak and accents they had” said Lea Berkowitz (11th Grade).
Understanding the truth about Israel and what goes on there is essential to our lives as Jews. Each lone soldier did an amazing job of explaining what they wanted to accomplish on behalf of Israel.
“It was a great experience to see how many people go from outside of Israel and fight for the country that we call home by putting their lives in danger for us” said Lou Bsiri (12th Grade).
The program was a huge success. It was very educational and the students greatly enjoyed it. As a Jewish school, it is imperative that students are taught to fight antisemitism and understand how they can support Israel by speaking up on its behalf and standing behind IDF soldiers.
By: Dominique Behar (12th)