June 9, 2017

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle at GOA

Samuel Russo ‘18

One day last year, as many GOA student often do, junior Iris Berman stayed late after school. However, this day had a much larger impact on her than she originally anticipated.
“I saw that the cleaning crew took every single [recycling and garbage] bin and just dumped it all into the same garbage, so that was… very upsetting,” Berman said. “I feel like… the school [was] suggesting that it really doesn’t care about the effect that it has on the environment.”
A self-declared environmentalist who had gone so far as to take “home everyone in the class’s paper to recycle” at the GOA lower school, Berman was horrified to discover that all of the material placed into recycling bins at GOA just ended up in the same place as the rest of the garbage. After discussing the issue with other teachers and students, Berman decided recently that it was time to take action on this issue.
“I had an extra locker, so [junior] Noah Brown and I transformed it into a recycling locker.” The idea of a “recycling locker” might sound foreign, but to Berman and Brown, it meant that they had “a paper bag, like what you find at the grocery store and we’d collect paper without staples or tape” and “bottles with no caps or labels” from other students so that they could take the material home to recycle, according to Brown.
Berman said that the receptions by students to the recycling locker had “been very positive” and that “people [had] been very excited but also recognized that some students might not know about the locker.
Sophomore David Wingens, for example, had heard about the recycling locker but was unable to describe it beyond calling it “a locker that recycles.”
Unbeknownst to Brown and Berman, at the same time that they were embarking on their grassroots recycling initiative, Student Council was looking for a solution in a different way. In multiple meetings with Ms. Stodolski and Mr. Herskowitz since January, Student Council members had voiced their concern to the administration about this issue.
Largely as a result of this urging, the administration had quietly begun to explore a better way forward for GOA’s environmental program. On the same day that Brown explained his recycling locker, Ms. Stodolski said that a new recycling program would be enacted “within the next week” so that “what happened before hopefully won’t be happening now.”
“It has taken us a long time to get to this place,” Ms. Stodolski said. “We’ve wanted to be able to recycle for a long time in a way that’s appropriate and it’s been confusing with many different people involved in the process and with probably a lack of clarity around where to put things.”
Ms. Stodolski also said that many of the challenges in creating this new recycling program have been issues of communication. For example, members of the cleaning team were unaware about their responsibility to put recycled material in a separate dumpster from the trash. Sometimes, though, the material that they were given to recycle was not even recyclable because many students did not know which items belonged in which cans.
Mr. Zulla, GOA’s Director of Facilities and Operations, was able to provide some more details on the new recycling program and the process that took place to arrive to it. According to him, it took a month to develop the new system, which he said was enacted in about the middle of April.
Zulla was also able to provide the documents for this new system, which explain that “Bottles and cans can be discarded at any of the GOA approved locations… [and] paper products and cardboard can be recycled using the small blue containers [found] in every room within the school.”
Before, there was no system in place to recycle cans and bottles and, despite there being a program for them, paper products were rarely recycled, both because of students misplacing the items and because of the cleaning team.
Now, with this new system in place, the onus really lies on students.
“I’m going to need your… [help] to make sure things get where they need to be,” Zulla said. When asked how he planned on making sure that students knew about these changes, Zulla responded simply: “you,” meaning that students must make sure that each person is keeping to the new system.

In just one school year, the effort to create a stronger recycling program at GOA has manifested itself in a grassroots student initiative, a student council project, a plan by the administration, and finally, a complete new program. Now, students and faculty have the opportunity to step up and make their contribution to the environment.

GOA’s Lacrosse Team Captures First Victory Ever

Etai Barash ‘18

You may have seen their humorous “Relax! It’s just a club” sweatshirts roaming the halls in school, but Golda Och Academy’s junior varsity girls lacrosse team is quickly gaining a reputation.
“A lot of people take our team as a joke,” freshman Danielle Hodes said. “The first win is changing that.”
After capturing the team’s first victory ever, defeating Benedictine Academy 11-8, GOA is proud of its first major accomplishment.
“We all worked together and covered for each other,” junior Miriam Morris said.
Without that cooperation and hard work, the team easily could have lost the tight contest.
“It was a great moment for the team (after a season-and-a-half of hard work),” junior Iris Berman added.
The game itself was neither pretty nor easy. The first half of the game was played without goalies, as Benedictine Academy forget their goalie equipment. Additionally, the field was misaligned, causing some confusion for both sides.
However, once goalie equipment was found and goalies were substituted in, the GOA team faced a difficult task: they only had one substitute, leading to great fatigue, especially for the midfielders.
As a result, they “had to switch positions every couple minutes,” Morris said. This discontinuity could cause difficulties. However, the team overcame them.
Junior Carly Paternite praised teammate and second-half goalie junior Rachel Bonder.
“She played great,” Paternite said. “Without her, it would have been much harder to win.”
The first victory meant a lot to the team, which was founded last year. The inaugural season was a difficult one. Their lack of experience and the complexity of the sport troubled the team, which finished with an 0-6 record.
“[Last year] we were not expecting to win many games because it was our first year,” Morris said. “Girls lacrosse has a lot of rules, and it took us a while to learn all of them.”
Even the transition from last year to this year was turbulent.
“The whole season started out with a lot of uncertainty,” Morris said.
The team did not have enough players and did not even have a coach at the beginning of the year. Luckily, they managed to recruit new teammates and hire three coaches who Morris described as “incredible.”
The team has provided the girls with a fun outlet for all the energy built up during the school day.
“We are all about having fun,” Paternite said.
Bonder added on, saying “It is a great way to get outside and exercise while having fun with my friends.”
Though the team has secured their first victory, this year’s work is far from over. With three games left, the team is looking to build on the success they found against Benedictine Academy.

As Bonder said, “this win has given us the confidence and momentum needed to hopefully keep winning!”

Class Leveling by Pace

It’s one of the most hotly contested debates in education right now: how should schools place students into classes? Some support using a tracking system, which is designed to divide students into classes based on academic ability. Others advocate using a heterogenous system, which assigns students to classes at random, with no consideration of academic ability. Currently, most schools use tracking systems, but the debate rages on.


Point: Tracking is Most Effective Method of Grouping Students

Jacob Bier ‘19

Everybody can agree that education will never be perfect. There are too many conflicting ideas out there for one form of learning to satisfy every student, parent and teacher. However, in my mind, there are clearly forms of learning that are much better than others. For one, tracking students.
Every student learns at a different speed. Some students can immediately grasp material that is taught in class. Other students need lots of time and practice in order to fully understand the material. Separating students based on their learning speed is highly beneficial to the teachers, the faster-learning students and the slower-learning students.
Teaching in a heterogeneous classroom is extremely difficult. A teacher must accommodate both the faster-learning students and the slower-learning students. This is almost impossible to do. If the teacher goes too fast, it could have disastrous effects on the slower-learning students. On the other hand, if the teacher goes too slow, it could have negative effects on the faster-learning students.
Marilyn Barr, grandmother of a GOA student and retired teacher of 25 years, said that it was very tough for a teacher to find this happy medium.
“In a mixed class, a teacher has to learn how to differentiate between different types of learners,” she said. “Accommodating to each type is very hard, even for experienced teachers.”
Teaching in a tracked class in much easier. In fast-moving and slow-moving classes, teachers are able to move at whichever pace is best suited for the students. The teacher no longer needs to worry about moving too slowly or students falling behind.
A heterogenous class that moves too slowly can be detrimental to faster-learning students. Joann P DiGennaro, the President of the Center for Excellence in Education, says that once faster-learning students had mastered a concept, they consistently reported boredom in the classroom. This means that heterogeneous classrooms can cause faster-learning students to see their desire to learn dissipate.
In a tracked class, these faster-learning students can learn quickly and make substantial progress in their education. By putting them in a tracked class, they are encouraged to learn more material and they are challenged by their teachers.
Similarly, a heterogeneous class that moves too quickly can be detrimental to slower-learning students. DiGennaro says that once a teacher finishes teaching a lesson, and moves on to new material, the slower-learning students report confusion. A lack of understanding means that these students will inevitably receive bad grades. On top of that, these students will be compared to the faster-moving students in the same class. This can result in a loss of self-esteem.
In a tracked class, these slower-learning students can learn at a pace that allows them to understand all of the material. This will allow the students to fully understand the material and therefore, receive better grades.
Obviously, the system of tracking students is not perfect. There are still many problems that must be fixed. For example, a student doing poorly in a high class might be moved down to a lower class. Similarly, it is very difficult for a student excelling in a low class to move up to a higher class.

There will never be a class system that everybody agrees upon. Nevertheless, the tracking system is able to accommodate the most people and therefore must be considered as the best option.

Counterpoint: Tracking Leads to Inequality and Crushes Confidence

Theo Deitz-Green ‘19

The history of education has been defined by debate over how best to carry it out. In the past half century, perhaps no issue has been more controversial than that of whether to place kids in classes based on their abilities.
At first glance, the advantage to tracking placement seems clear: placing students with others that learn at similar paces would allow teachers to tailor their teaching styles to best suit the needs of their students. Each student would get the education they need in the manner that they need it.
This is certainly a compelling case in principle. Unfortunately, though, it does not hold up to the reality of its impacts on education.  
In fact, research conducted by James Kulik and Robert Slavin on the impacts of tracking systems has found that while they have led to an increase in performance in higher achieving students, this increase has been entirely offset by the decrease in performance of lower achieving students.
Therefore, tracking systems provide no increase in the average educational achievement of students in relation to heterogeneous classes, or classes in which students are placed randomly with no consideration of ability.
Because both produce the same academic results, we must consider the other factors at play in these competing systems and it is in these that it becomes clear that the heterogeneous class placement system carries greater benefits.
While both yield average academic results, ability placement leads to a large gap in the quality of education of students in higher classes and students in lower classes. This means that some students are going off to college and into the job market at huge disadvantages. Heterogeneous schools avoid this by giving everyone the same class opportunity.   
Also, according to an article written by Nora Hyland, professor of education at Rutgers University, poor and minority students are often overwhelmingly placed in low classes, while students with more money are more commonly placed in higher classes.
Therefore, the tracking system further expands the disparities between those with and without money and between minorities and non-minorities, cementing it in perhaps the most important facet of life. It expands what many see as an existing systemic racism by providing minorities with worse educations and, by extension, fewer opportunities.
Additionally, the leveling of classes is detrimental to the confidence and motivation of those placed in lower level classes.
Now, there are people who argue that leveling of classes should actually help solve this problem because it is more demoralizing to be placed in a class with people who learn faster and constantly receive lower grades than to be in a lower class but do well.
However, according to a study conducted by Jomills Braddock and Robert E. Slavin, professor of sociology at University of Miami and director of the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University, respectively, students in lower classes have lower self esteem and are more likely to believe that their “fate [is] out of their hands.”
The notion that they are less smart than others is pounded into them year after year and often stays with them for the rest of their lives. The system can beat out any ambition or hope of success.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of tracking education is that it begins so early, often in middle school. The ability of a student to learn at the age of twelve or thirteen determines the course of the rest of their lives, because often, once placed in a certain level, it is almost impossible to move up. With every passing day they are getting further behind and it gets harder to catch up.
Of course, heterogeneous class placement has its problems as well. No education system can be perfect.

However, if both produce the same average academic results and tracking leads to educational inequality, discrimination and crushing blows to confidence, while heterogeneous placement does not, it is clearly the better path for schools to take.    

Cheating a Privilege?

Aryeh Lande ‘18

Nothing, perhaps, spurs more passionate opinions among the GOA student body than the broad topic of grades. More so, every student has at least one complaint about the grading systems and tools implemented by the school in one class or another. Among these grievances, the issues of extended time and computer privileges typically top the list.
Extended time and computer privileges are school-sanctioned programs that are said to carry careful vetting, requiring teacher input, specific tests from other professionals, like therapists and a planned process to follow over months. These policies were implemented by the school in this new age of education to level the playing field for all students when it comes to tests. Think affirmative action for assessments.
The validity of the claim that extended time is only given to deserving students is questionable at best, however, given the seemingly ever-shrinking number of students taking regularly-timed tests, come midterms and finals.
On a more serious note, in regard to extended time, many students relish the extension of assessments and claim it helps them immensely. Still, recently some students exploited or cheated the system, causing the administration to rightfully respond by finding new approaches to such a weighted issue.
After much experimentation, the old system of granting students the ability to complete tests in the Test Make-Up room was slowly reinstated over the condensation of tests to allow everyone to finish within one class period. While the administration prefers the status quo over the more radical alternatives that have recently been tried, there is still progress being made. That progress is in the form of dialogue, the foundation of every resolution.
Nevertheless, extended time’s long-lost cousin, computer privileges, remains controversial and is not discussed nearly enough. These granted rights are more unjust to other students than extended time. The ability to come back to a test or take a quiz for 15 more minutes may provide a slight advantage, but with the freedom to use a computer for assessments, a skilled user will have the entirety of the internet at their disposal. Some teachers are not tech-savy enough to understand when cheating may occur.It does not seem like there is enough teacher enforcement in the classroom over cyber-cheating, as there is on major tests like midterms and finals.
There is very little discussion right now, as GOA enters a new era in which there is such an emphasis on technology for learning, to ensure that future students do not abuse this rather open system.
It makes complete sense that students should use a computer for notes in class or for an essay when they have a hard time writing, but for assessments dealing with memorization, the use of personal computers should be forbidden. Such a restriction would level the playing field for all students, but by using school-issued computers, a teacher could ensure that the student is accountable and that their test answers are honorable. If needed, a teacher could require a student to take the assessment with the computer facing the proctor, with the WiFi off and even check the search history after the exam.
These are not abusive measures to pressure kids against applying for computer privileges and in no way will it hurt those who use the system honestly. Rather, smart protocol will add integrity to the digital era.

Implementing techniques to check students’ behavior will ultimately help the class, teacher and even the student. These demands may be tedious and require advanced planning, but just like extended time, discussion about computer privileges must open up. If not, the school will stagnate in its efforts to effectively modernize and will lose to the deception of technology. With reasonable changes, special needs will be accommodated, grades will not suffer, teachers’ lives will be made easier and the GOA community as a whole will feel less divisive, with fewer incidents of cheating.

College Craziness: Advice to Rising Juniors

Alex Beigelman ‘18

College is considered a crucial level of education that is needed to get a decent job and live a happy life. For many students at GOA, getting into college is the mission of a lifetime and requires absolute perfection. There exists a craze around the college admissions process that has driven much of the student body into four years of excessive stress and worrying.
College admission is a complex process that often wants SATs or ACTs, subject tests, grades, recommendations, demonstrated interest, APs, essays and more. It may seem daunting, as though colleges are only accepting perfect students and you need to be perfect, too. This is insane. Nobody is perfect and you shouldn’t take four years of your life to stress out about being as close to perfect as possible.
Allow yourself to enjoy high school and don’t be too hard on yourself. In our school, we are incredibly competitive with grades and scores. Don’t go crazy trying to get a 1600 on your SATs because your friend got a 1520 and don’t stay up until 2:00 a.m. trying to get an A+ on some test because two of your friends got a 97 while you only got a 93. Do what you can but don’t waste a year of your life trying to be the best student ever.
“Especially for us at GOA, … the pressure is so high,” junior Alissa Lampert said, “and this just creates a cycle of stress.”
Strive for your best but accept that you can’t be perfect.
An important lesson for all rising juniors, like junior Carly Mast advised, “take everything one step at a time… everything will work out just fine.” Don’t think that you need to have your college list and have all your test scores done by December. There is time to do all of it and, although it may seem like a daunting list of things to do before you apply to colleges, you have plenty of time.
There is a hype around which college people attend. So many people strive for big name schools over all else and this is ridiculous. People need to relax about which college they attend. Dr. Denise Kanrich, the GOA college guidance counselor, stresses that you should go where you feel comfortable and somewhere that fits what you want in your college experience. Don’t waste your high school experience trying to impress schools that you wouldn’t be happy at.
Kanrich had also told us that the education you get is similar at many schools, so in a way, it really doesn’t matter much. Do what you enjoy and attend a college that will make you happy, no need to strive for anything more.
“There is a perception… that where [you] are accepted into college is the be all and end all and that it determines the rest of [your] life as well as how ‘good’ or ‘smart’ of a person [you] are,” junior Sam Russo said. “This, of course, only makes students more stressed.”
If you are dreading junior year, know this: It’s stressful but you determine how stressful it will be. You can choose to do what makes you happy, taking classes and doing extracurriculars that you enjoy, or you can waste the year trying to get a 36 on the ACT, a five on four AP exams and a 4.0 GPA in order to impress some elitist school somewhere in Massachusetts.
“[The process is] blown out of proportion,” sophomore Michelle Bilmes said.
Kanrich will send you over 50 emails over the course of junior year, all labeled college guidance and filled with dates, school names, reminders to take tours and more. Don’t take it so seriously. Again, be responsible and do what you can throughout this process, but don’t take down every date. There’s no need to go to every meeting with an admissions counselor and don’t feel pressured to have your life planned out by the end of the first quarter.
It all works out in the end and like junior Noah Brown said, “I’m not one of those people touring colleges and taking ACTs at the end of sophomore year. I know that wherever I end up, I’ll be happy.”
Junior year may not be the most fun of years, but there’s no need to make it hell on earth. Do what makes you happy and strive for your best without giving in to the pressures around you to be perfect. It’ll all work out in the end and the college you’ll attend will give you a great experience and a fine education in whatever area of study you enjoy. Don’t destroy your high school experience trying to attain perfection and don’t live under the impression that college is the most important thing in your life. I went through junior year with this mindset and it wasn’t right.

Just relax a little bit. It’s going to be okay.

Economic Freedom is Sweet

Nina Robins ‘19

Obesity is a massive epidemic in the United States. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the overweight population of America has risen 30 percent since 1962. Today, at least 240 million Americans, almost three out of every four adults, are classified as overweight.
The United States has implemented several educational and fitness programs in order to combat obesity. However, one measure the government have rightfully refrained from imposing is a ban on advertising unhealthy, sugary snacks.
“At first glance, I think that there could be a benefit to a ban,” sophomore Maya Wasserman said.
By banning advertisements for junk food, public knowledge of the products would decrease. As a result, the companies producing these foods would make less profit and eventually be forced to cease manufacturing.
In addition, one could consider that it is the government’s purpose to “promote the general welfare” of its citizens, and that deterring obesity is among its responsibilities. A government that does not actively fight against obesity in every possible medium could be considered negligent.
“The government currently regulates advertising of cigarettes to minors and forces
cigarette companies to put pictures of people with diseases on cigarette packages,” sophomore Theo Deitz-Green said. “Clearly, people have determined that the government has to step in to protect the general public from things that pose a risk to health.”
However, this ideal scenario crumbles when facing the reality of the American society - we are capitalists and we do what we want.
Our country developed on a foundation of reward for innovation in the form of wealth and success within a flexible economic hierarchy. Historical events such as the Great Depression have placed some restrictions on our otherwise free markets, but there is no question that we still value financial autonomy.
Placing a ban on advertisements of unhealthy snacks would compromise this value.
Restrictions were placed on monopolies in order to encourage market competition. Eliminating several companies from the advertising industry creates an unfair financial disadvantage. Eventually, millions of workers who are employed in these snack producing companies would be fired and entire companies would shut down.
This is not the solution that America needs. We desire more jobs, not fewer and banning certain advertisements would cause a financial regression.
Outlawing advertisements of food, which do not physically threaten or harm anyone, would also be a violation of free speech.
“I think that while there is a trend of obesity going on right now, the government still shouldn’t be able to censor things about our media,” Wasserman said.
Within an free market atmosphere, companies are generally allowed to publicize however they like. Likewise, consumers must also have a say in what they purchase and the government should not be deciding for them.
“People have the right to make their own decisions, especially when it comes to what they eat,” sophomore Jacob Bier said.
Citizens have the ability and independence to decide whether or not they are to limit unhealthy products in their lives and can be guided simply by reading nutrition labels.
“People are entitled to know what they are consuming and make choices for themselves,” sophomore Ian Rosen said. “Some people structure effective diets based off of the facts.”
Although obesity is a serious issue, the government, as a federal body, must prioritize financial gain and personal freedoms over the general health of the populace.
“All individuals have the ability to choose what to consume,” sophomore Fanya Hoffman said. “They should not be hindered by a lack of advertisements, no matter how helpful the government is trying to be.”

Tis’ the Season of AP Exams

Alissa Lampert ‘18

For most, the month of May is a time of joy, with summer break right around the corner and the warmer weather making everything seem brighter. However, for some juniors, May is a month of panic and stress similar to nothing ever experienced before.
Every year, students around the country take Advanced Placement exams. These tests, also known as AP tests, are designed to reflect the material a student may learn in a preliminary college course so that if a student excels, they can earn credit and place out of certain prerequisite classes for college. Some public schools offer over 20 courses in science, math, humanities and the arts, while GOA offers four: Calculus AB, Spanish Language and Culture, English Literature and Composition and U.S. History.
AP teachers do their best to teach their class according to the most important test information, which requires teaching their students how to write specific types of essays or answer specific multiple choice questions on the exam. However, as prepared as the teachers intend their students to be, stress is unavoidable.
Many 11th grade students are familiar with work-induced breakdowns and panics, but by taking a class which requires a test that can be more daunting than the SAT or ACT, juniors in AP classes can feel even more pressured.
Junior Dina Doctoroff explained that, although AP exams can be considered comparable to a regular final exam, the stress associated with them can be much greater.
“AP exam stress is way worse than midterm stress because with midterms, you have to stop learning new material a bit before you take the tests,” Doctoroff explained. “That's not a luxury we have with APs. AP kids have to keep learning new material in other classes, while still studying for our AP tests.”
Junior Alex Beigelman offered a different point of view.
“AP's are comparable in stress to finals,” he said. “It's a lot more information but it has far less of an effect on your grades, because it doesn't affect them at all.”
Differing levels of preparedness can also make a difference in how pressured students feel.
Junior Lizzie Irwin said she felt well-prepared and as a result, less stressed, from a combination of in-school learning and at home studying and that her teachers’ confidence in her increased her own sense of preparation.
Beigelman, on the other hand, said his “level of preparedness varied from test to test” based on his initial comfort with the topic.
Students in AP classes did note that teachers in their other classes were accommodating to their stress and did make the testing experience better by doing so.
“Here and there due dates were more negotiable, but otherwise [the assessments in other classes] felt very regular,” Irwin commented. She emphasized that teachers do have other students to teach and must continue on with the class, but did their best to help her manage her stress.
Many wonder if the stress associated with the tests is worth it, considering that they do not count for grades and many colleges do not accept certain scores or tests results for credit. When asked if they would consider taking an AP test next year if given the option, Doctoroff and Irwin responded positively, while Beigelman said he would not want to take another. Irwin cited the fact that there are many other courses which were not offered junior year and, “if the course could work itself into the way we do senior year [she] would love to take it on.”

AP tests can create unnecessary amounts of additional stress to the already pressuring junior year experience. Some are helpful to get college credit and opt out of certain classes, but the pressure associated with AP tests can sometimes call into question their necessity and expectations.

The Countdown to Neshama

Aryeh Lande ‘18

Among the many distinguished guests Israel will welcome in 2018, the most memorable of them all, perhaps, will be GOA’s class of 2018.
Every year, the senior class ends school in mid-February, ditching the classroom for hands-on learning in Poland and Israel. During the three months away from home, the Neshama cohort encounters significant sites in Jewish history and interacts with locals to deepen their connection with Judaism and Israel, as well as with each other.
With the year coming to a close and significant exams in the past, one thing is certain: Juniors are getting increasingly excited for the great adventure that awaits them.
One of the leading reasons for the buzz is the opportunity for personal growth.
“I'm excited because it's a chance to be independent and learn about a country from the inside out,” junior Mikayla Spierer said.
Spierer’s idea was shared by classmate Abby Faynshteyn, who said the trip will give her the “true experience of independence.”
For many students, being in a country without their parents will be a new or, at least, rare experience. The ability to interact with a country through open eyes and a clear mind is a possibility that excites the student body.
Along with the chance to have personal freedoms, some students are excited about the opportunity to foster close connections, as well. One student, junior Noah Brown, is particularly excited about the cultural immersion that this trip offers and the ability to connect with Israel.
“I’m really glad that GOA offers this opportunity that allows us to not only experience the Israeli culture we’ve learned about and immerse ourselves, but that it also helps us forge a meaningful spiritual connection to our religious and ancestral homeland,” Brown said.
Meanwhile, other juniors, like Alex Beigelman, emphasize the personal connections the trip will help create, especially in the last days of high school.
“It's a great way to end your high school career,” he said, “and create lasting memories with your closest friends before going off to college.”
The uniqueness of this trip is that, while it is the end of school, it is also the last chance for many to get to know the classmates with whom they never had classes and get to form a friendship with those you hadn’t befriended before.
Finally, Neshama will be especially powerful for the Israeli students of the grade, as they get to experience their familial homeland alongside their classmates, discovering it through a new perspective.
“I feel a strong connection to Israel and can't wait to rekindle that while spending three months there with my best friends,” junior Etai Barash said.
No matter the motivation for the anticipation, the experiences Neshama offers will be formative in the lives of the members of the class of 2018. The trip will offer a chance for self-reflection, personal growth and the ability to discover a new home.

Next February cannot seem to come soon enough.


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