Talmud Torah grade 9 students blog from Israel: 5776 class trip

The grade 9 Talmud Torah students are in Israel as a culmination of their Judaic Studies Program. They are travelling with the grade 9 class from the Calgary Jewish Academy and also spending time with their pen pals from the P2G school Emek Hahula in the Galilee Panhandle. They are pictured above with their teacher Moreh Ari Sniderman.

The Grade 9 Talmud Torah students are in Israel on their class trip, which is a culmination and celebration of their Judaic Studies program.

Their teacher Moreh Ari Sniderman is accompanying the students and assisting them with a blog to help record highlights of the trip and keep their families plugged in. The students arrived in Israel on April 28. Here is Moreh Sniderman’s first blog:

Do you know where the word “bank” comes from? Etymologists have two basic opinions. It is possible that it comes from Latin or Norse (doesn’t matter), and means either “bench” or “table” (matters a lot).

Jacob, our tour guide at the Kotel Tunnel Tours, talked about this as we stood face to face with the northern points of the Western Wall, deep under ground on the original Wall Street where the money exchangers (the Firma of the day) would change Babylonian, Persian, and Greek coins into the shekels required to enter the Temple.

He said the Romans would call the moneychangers the “bench men,” who sat on a bench and made money from work other people had done. But the Mishnah referred to them as shulhanim – “table men” – who worked the tables that would allow Jews from all over to gain entrance to God’s house.

I think this distinction is applicable to our grade 9 students’ experience in Israel. Will they be bench people who will turn this learning opportunity into a party? Or will they be shulhanim, taking a journey through their education to cement a Jewish identity that’s been waiting for this opportunity?

Let’s be honest, sometimes we will be bench people. It will be fun, relaxing, really enjoyable for the sake of enjoyment. There’s ice cream, shwarma, the beach, taking Israelis skating, jeep rides, and the like.

And sometimes we will be shulhanim, thinking and teaching and connecting, building a wealth of knowledge and experience. But wherever we go and whatever we do, we will be building that bank of experiences, and we will come home richer in Jewish identity and love of this land.

I hope that through this blog all of our readers will appreciate the experience our students are having, mostly through their eyes, although I will most likely do a lot of writing due to their exhaustion. And that’s a good thing. We feed them well and they have lots of energy for walking and learning, but we drain it skillfully.

So far the weather is nice, the kids are nice, our tour guide is nice, and the matza is… well, you can’t have everything!

But you know, they’re not complaining, so why should I? I look forward to sharing the adventure. I hope you’ll enjoy as well. And now, what you’ve all been waiting for, the opening roll of film.

Click here to follow the blog.


Be the first to comment on "Talmud Torah grade 9 students blog from Israel: 5776 class trip"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.