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Senesh 8th Graders Featured in “The Times of Israel”

Brooklyn 8th-graders find connection on ‘super powerful’ solidarity trip to Israel

Students from New York’s Hannah Senesh Community Day School spend a week in the Holy Land in a modified graduation visit, in perhaps the first day school trip since October 7

By Gavriel Fiske
April 1, 2024 | The Times of Israel

At the back tables of Sima restaurant, a well-known establishment in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda shuk area, a group of American eighth graders were eating their final meal in the country after a week-long visit. The teens were boisterously expressive as they discussed and processed their experiences over a meal of Israeli-style grilled meats, salads and pita.

Outside, night was falling on Shushan Purim, which is both the day after Purim and the day the rowdy, carnivalesque holiday is celebrated in Jerusalem. All afternoon, Agrippas Street, named after Herod Agrippa, the famous king of Judea, had been closed to traffic as thousands of costumed revelers partied, danced and drank.

As the final stragglers staggered about and cleanup crews got to work before the street opened up again, The Times of Israel sat on an outside stoop with Jessica Lissy, a Judaic Studies teacher who was part of the team accompanying the teenagers, who hail from the Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn, New York, a non-denominational Jewish school that runs from kindergarten to 8th grade.

The annual Israel trip for the 8th grade graduating class is “a big deal” at the school, Lissy said. It is something “the kids look forward to since kindergarten. Usually, it’s for two weeks after Passover, but this is a totally different trip, focusing on volunteering, being together, helping Israel and feeling a part of the Jewish people during a really tough time.”

It was the parents who pushed for the school to still conduct a modified version of the annual trip, despite the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, while many of the other Jewish schools are redirecting their school trips to Europe or elsewhere, Lissy explained.

Read of the rest of the article here.