Jewish Journal

Expanding Horizons

Exchange program enriches both local and Tel Aviv students

by Beverly Gray

October 28, 1999 | 8:00 pm

In early October, four 13-year-olds from Tel Aviv spent 10 days in Southern California. They checked out the major tourist spots, including Disneyland. More importantly, they joined with their "partners" at Heschel Day School to celebrate Shabbat and Simchat Torah. They participated with Heschel students in a community Mitzvah Day, and helped in the completion of a campus "museum," through which Heschel seventh-graders displayed objects sacred to their families. The four Israeli visitors are students at the A. D. Gordon School, which is linked with Heschel as part of the Los Angeles-Tel Aviv Partnership's Twin School project. Since 1997, the Israelis and their classmates have been communicating with their new friends at Heschel via e-mail and school websites. Classroom assignments, including a genealogical research project, have been shared between the two campuses. At Heschel's museum, Gordon seventh-graders were represented by photographs of their own families' treasures. Teacher Judy Taff, who coordinates the Twin School program for Heschel along with Hillary Zana, has noted that the museum taught the entire student body "how similar we are." Orr Amsel, one of the visiting Israeli students, expounded on the importance of the deepening Los Angeles-Tel Aviv connection in language borrowed from his Disneyland visit: "I guess we are the future of tomorrow. It's a small world."
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