Jessica Jacobs recently returned from Israel where she was privileged to be accompanying her students on The Jewish Federation’s Tel Aviv-Los Angeles-Vilnius School Twinning Program. A total of thirty 8th grade students from Kehillat Israel Religious School in Pacific Palisades, Shalom Aleichem School in Vilnius, Lithuania and Shevach Mofet School in Tel Aviv, traveled, studied and came together for 10 amazing days.
"For my first delegation to Tel Aviv as a School Twinning Coordinator, I laid the groundwork for my 8th grade students to meet our Lithuanian and Israeli partners. I taught them about the Russian Aliyah to Israel, the history of the Jews in the Baltics, the Law of Return, and how to be a good guest in a foreign place. I was excited for them to have the opportunity to travel to Israel more or less on their own, shaping their personal understanding of the Jewish state and living with real Israeli families. I imagined they would experience some sort of emotional connection to Israel, and that they would see things completely new to them. But I had no idea how warmly they would be greeted by their Israeli partners, how quickly they would form bonds, and what an impact all three groups would have on one another…
… I could see my students going on an emotional journey over the 10 days. I could see them being surprised by what they observed, and I could see them gaining a sense of ownership over their experience in Israel. I was often impressed by their curiosity and the questions they raised. I truly believe that this experience will be formative for their Jewish identities, and that they will always carry with them a sense of pride in forging their own ways in Israel."
The Jewish Federation’s School Twinning Program, is the only initiative in existence that connects schools in Los Angeles with schools in Tel Aviv. Since its inception, this powerful program has made an impact on the lives of 60,000 students, parents, and faculty through jointly prepared curricula, teacher training, and delegation exchanges. This past year a school in Vilnius, Lithuania is now included in this three-way partnership. The program strengthens our shared Jewish identity, while fulfilling our Federation’s mission of ensuring the Jewish future.
Read the entire story at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles' website.