Leigh Roncon
Year 4 Teacher
Leibler Yavneh College

We woke up, got ready, packed and went off to breakfast. The breakfast so far on the program has been plentiful. The only issue, I’ve found, has been my portion control. Has this been a problem you ask? There is a fine line between waste and waist.
On the road to our first destination, traveling the Hula Valley towards the south, the city of Tsfat, 1 of the 4 holy cities.

The old city of Tsfat (Tsfat is such a fun word to say, by the way) is a majestic, yellow stoned labyrinth. A street with twists and turns and narrow bypasses along the way, even the rain couldn’t diminish this beauty. I was captivated by the different shaped/coloured doors to each residence offering its own identity marker. Onto our arty party, the David Friedman Kabbalah Art exhibit.

David Friedman spoke about how he creates artworks incorporating the body, mind and heart which underpin Kabbalah. Go to the website for translations of his artwork language and the choices he has made in his designs.

‘Kabbalah
The Tree of life.
Bringing many into one.
I create as a speak.
Abracadabra!’

Caro synagogue was a delightful eye view on our journey through the old city. Although busy, the intricate detail in fixtures and features were undeniable.

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The day got colder and colder, wetter and wetter. We finished our old Tsfat trip off with a quick shop at the souvenir stores. At the small market, art and souvenirs were plentiful. You could pick up modern art with dynamic colours and flair in their designs. If you set your eyes on the jewellery and Judaica long enough, you were encouraged to purchase… with, of course, a special discount. When concluding this magical journey, reminders of going to the toilet before we got on the bus were a given, the 2 shekel pee price, however, was not. I scan the area for trees… hmm, nope. I ended up paying the 2 shekels.

On the bus and up the mountain to Misgav, where we stopped for lunch and met the head of the council, Mayor Ron Shani. He spoke to us about the development of the region with the assistance of JNF. He described his community as a mosaic of communities celebrating the uniqueness of each individual within their thriving settlements.
Next, we saw the Sustainability Centre where all projects are done through recycling and sustainable means. Students make use of their education to create and make pieces or art, gardens/gardening, butterfly curation, and a house with self-preservation of heat and cooling. You will leave seeing the sign and their intended message ‘Have a Green Day’.

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Oranim College of Education was the second to last event on Day 3. David Mittenberg was a captivating speaker who spoke about Jewish communities, their relationships and the subject area, Jewish Peoplehood Education. The goal of peoplehood education is to build interdependence, reciprocity and mutuality while accepting the multiplicity of identity. He was an amazing speaker with clarity in the direction of his research.

Lori Abrahamson followed him with an activity the would get us thinking about our connectedness to the immediate Jewish community and how we extend beyond that. I enjoyed the discussion with my team on developing ideas whilst being reflective on our own educational approaches. I do hope we have more facilitated professional discussions and workshops like this one on the tour, if time permits.

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Finally, we find ourselves after a 2-hour journey in Jerusalem. I know I will sleep well tonight.

Overall, the day was astounding in the caliber of what I saw and learned. It makes me wish my whole team from Leibler Yavneh College in Melbourne were with me on this journey (not just in my WhatsApp) to see and be inspired by the things I have experienced. Israel is a beautiful country and I can’t believe what a marvel the last 3 days have been.