The Tucson Hebrew Academy 2015 trip to Israel marked the 13th such trip for the school, bringing the total of THA students who have visited Israel with their eighth grade classmates to 300. This year, 15 students along with Rabbi Billy Lewkowicz, the school’s director of Judaics/Hebrew studies, and teacher Sigal Nadler, experienced what Lewkowicz calls “a living classroom without walls.”Among other sites and activities, the itinerary included Shabbat at the Western Wall, kayaking on the Jordan River, and hiking up Masada and through the streams of the Galilee. Students rode donkeys at the Talmudic village of Tzipori, camels in the Negev Desert and a zip line over a nature park at Eretz Ha’ayalim.
One of the highlights of the trip for the students was an evening spent creating and eating a banquet dinner with their Israeli counterparts, eighth graders from Tucson’s Partnership2Gether region. The two groups had been in contact all year, sharing lessons via Skype and staying in touch through email and the WhatsApp mobile app.
Along with fundraising by students and parents, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and the Jewish Community Foundation helped fund the trip.