Shir Hadash Reconstructionist Synagogue eighth grade students Zach Goldman, Sophie Horwich, Samantha Lewin, Alex Lieberman, and Ari Rice, along with their rabbi, Rabbi Eitan Weiner-Kaplow, returned last month from this year's "Ta'am Yisrael--Taste of Israel" Eighth Grade Journey to Israel. The trip ran from February 4th through 12th.
The Shir Hadash participants joined a group of 185 Chicago area eighth graders along with chaperones and guides to Israel for one week of tourning in southern Israel and Jerusalem. Amongst the exciting and jam-packed program, the group excavated at an archaeolgical dig, climbed Masada at sunrise, hiked in the desert, visited with patients at a hospital and met and exchanged gifts with Isaeli youth of Kiryat Gat and Jerusalem. the students also visited sites in Jerusalem including the Western Wall, Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial, Mount Herzl and the Jerusalem Zoo.
According to Shir Hadash Rabbi Eitan Weiner-Kaplow, "Ta'am Yisrael program is a fantastic opportunity for our eighth grade students to follow up on their bar and bat mitzvah studies with an amazing journey to the Land of Israel--the homeland of the Jewish people. By touring Israel for one week they quickly learned and understood the essential role that each student plays in the present and future of the Jewish people."
The Ta'am Yisrael program is coordinated by the Chicago based Community Foundation for Jewish Education and was started by the late film critic Gene Siskel.