Thursday, May 12, 2016

Israel 2016-- First Impressions


This post will be short, because the last 24+ hours have largely been devoted to travel and the common theme is really quite simple: everywhere we go we make an impression. Don’t believe me? Try not to picture 56 8th graders full of life, laughing, singing, talking, shopping, and doing all of the things that they do. Even in the most mundane of circumstances, like the line at Shake Shack in the JFK Terminal, we make an impression.  Fortunately, it’s a positive impression.

Even to complete strangers, the fact that our kids exist and that they are on a trip to Israel, their Jewish homeland, makes an impression. Kind of like the adorable baby on our flight that puts a smile on everyone’s face. Our kids make people happy. They fill people with hope. They make people feel like the future is bright. They make people feel like love, friendship, community, respect, faith, and spirit are all alive and well in the world. They force people to admit that common courtesy isn’t dead, that it’s still totally awesome to be a kid even in a world overwhelmed by technology and other “modern ailments” and so much more. They are, individually and collectively, an affirmation of humanity. I know this seems a bit exaggerated, but it’s true (and I’ve got the video to prove it).

We made a strong impression on the Delta Agents that checked us in. They ,in turn, made a strong impression by opening special lines to ease our travel. Flight attendants, restaurant vendors and others quickly realized that they needn’t cower in fear when they saw our dizzying tye-dye crowd descending upon them.

The most exciting part of our day, by far, was a quick meet and greet with our friends from the Nili School. Though thoroughly exhausted, we mustered the strength to welcome them to our hotel in Zichron Ya’akov so that way when we meet tomorrow, we reconnect rather than connect for the first time. I’m pretty sure that the majority of our kids felt like Brad Pitt or Taylor Swift tonight. I’m also pretty sure that some of the Nili kids were already trying to plot their return tickets to Atlanta and US Citizenship. That’s why we made it very clear that they weren’t actually guests in the hotel this evening! Given the typical Thursday night nightlife in Zichron Ya’akov I think it’s safe to say that we’re the biggest act in town by far.

There’s plenty to come, but it will come in its own time. And that time isn’t now. So, for now, I’m pleased to introduce you to The Davis Academy Class of 2016’s unofficial menschlichkeit spokesperson of the day. After watching his testimonial please think about whether there’s a message you want to share with the entire group during our first Shabbat. If there is, please enter it as a comment in response to this post and I’ll do my best to integrate your collective voices into our Shabbat experience. And now, a word from our sponsor:

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