Shabbat Shalom! My name is Chloe Lipton, and I’m here today to speak on behalf of the Davis Academy class of 2016 as we get ready to head to Israel next week. Before looking forward, I want to take a look back. I remember the day in kindergarten when Mrs. Buc told our class that we should go home and bring three items to school tomorrow, because we would be flying to Israel. The next day, I showed up with my bag packed and ready to go. I was over the moon with excitement, and we were just going to the gym. Once we “arrived” in Israel, we stopped in the lobby and wrote notes to stick into the Styrofoam Kotel. I sat there and read my note over and over again, thinking that when I finally did go to Israel, I would write the same note.
Here I am, eight years later, with absolutely no recollection of what that note said, but this time I actually am flying to Israel. Just the idea of touching the Kotel, or floating in the Dead Sea puts a smile on my face. The waiting is done, and our turn is here. In five days, I’ll be boarding a plane with my fifty-five brothers and sisters. We are going to explore places and engage in activities we have only imagined. I’ve been told it’s the adventure of a lifetime, full of unforgettable experiences. The Israel trip is the perfect ending to our Davis journey, and the perfect start to our next one.
Wherever I go, I know I will always have the Davis kehillah to come home to. For nine years it has supported me, and I can only hope that when I depart from Israel I will be a part of many new Kehillot—like the Nili School in Zichron Ya’akov, Kibbutz Ginosar, the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem where we will celebrate Shabbat afternoon, and the beach bum community of Tel Aviv. I am not quite sure what the trip will entail, but I cannot wait to see the look of amazement on my classmates faces when we see the old city for the first time, or the pure joy as we ride the camels, or the peaceful and content look on our faces as we welcome Shabbat together. Had it not been for every teacher and every member of the Davis Kehillah who has touched us along the way, we would not even be going to Israel, let alone able to appreciate all that will happen during our time there.Some could say the Israel Trip marks our departure from Davis, but in my opinion, Davis will always be with us. In the memories of doing letter books in kindergarten, or in the memories of journaling in Israel and everything in between. Yes, we are leaving for our big trip, and soon after that we are graduating, but this is just the beginning. Thank you and Shabbat Shalom.