Israel has become my living classroom and I could not be happier.
My experience in Israel, so far, has been unbelievable. My learning experience has been very different than my school at home.
Every school day I have a few hours of my Israel studies class with my teacher Akiva Gersh. He makes learning enjoyable and he constantly gives us a voice to demonstrate our opinions to the class and create room for debate. In addition, we are able to ask him any of our questions regarding religion and belief. He is a modern Orthodox Jew, but is every open to discussion regarding his faith and that is what I enjoy the most about him. How often are you able to question an Orthodox Jew and start a real debate with him?
Furthermore, Israel has become my living classroom. Each week we have about two field trips, or as we call them tiyulim. Each one is very unique and different from the previous one, but every tiyul touches on what we are learning in class at that time. While we are there we take a few notes, but, for the most part, our job is to take in what we see around us. Each tiyul has a modern aspect, as well as a historical aspect. In order to learn the story of the Jewish people in the time of the Roman Empire, we hiked Masada at 4 am (in order to see the sunrise from the top) and learned the story of the Jews that lived there in those times. This experience gave me new insight into the struggle of the Jewish petiole through history and gave me a strong sense of pride for my heritage. After Masada we went to the Dead Sea, and just floated around. We followed this up by a strong nap on our way back to campus.
This is just one tiyul, but one that deeply touched me and gave me a deeper look into something that I may not have fully understood in a classroom. Israel has become my living classroom and I could not be happier.