Last week, 90 travelers returned from the most recent Heller High “Parents’ Pilgrimage.” Each semester, family members of our students are invited to join the program in Israel for a unique and inspiring ten-day trip.
The Pilgrimage itinerary is varied and includes many different activities. The trip begins with a welcome at Kibbutz Tzuba, followed by dinner in the kibbutz dining hall. Throughout the week, our visitors have the opportunity to participate in their own tours to many of Israel’s most popular destinations, including Masada and the Dead Sea, a day trip in Tel Aviv, and a tour at Yad Vashem. Each year, the Parents’ Pilgrimage has a handful of attendees for whom this is their first time ever in Israel, and our itinerary gives them a chance to explore the country and learn about many of its most important sites.
Probably the most popular part of the trip, and the most unique, is the chance to accompany our students on several of their off-campus Tiyulim (field trips). “My favorite part, besides seeing [my son] Josh, was observing the Jewish History class at Beit Alpha,” said Andy of Needham, MA. “It was great to see the kids so engaged.”
Parents also have the chance to meet some of their children’s teachers and other Heller High faculty members and staff during their time in Israel. Audrey, of Ringwood, NJ was thrilled to meet her daughter’s Hebrew and Jewish History teachers: “Wow! Both of them had such enthusiasm, knowledge and energy that was so amazing to see. As a parent and educator, this IS the experience we want and need all of our youth to have each and every day. Our children are so lucky to have them in their lives.”
Although named the “Parents” Pilgrimage, the trip is not only for Parents! Siblings, grandparents, cousins, other relatives, and family friends have all participated in the past, and the trip is meaningful for all. Said Ariella of San Mateo, CA: “One unexpected outcome was the extent to which this trip had an impact on our 13-year-old son’s Jewish identity. That was wonderful to see, and I didn’t see that coming. Hopefully you will have him in your program in 3-4 years!”
While all were thrilled to spend the time together as a family, one family in particular was excited about the timing of the trip. Said Wendi of Port Washington, NY: “My family had a very special experience with Heller High. We were super impressed with the program and loved experiencing the outdoor classroom each and every moment while there. We were blessed to be able to celebrate Luca’s 16th Birthday together with his friends and will hold this trip close to our hearts as a very unforgettable experience!”
Learn more about the Parents’ Pilgrimage on URJ Heller High here.
Interested in a semester in Israel? We are currently accepting applications for the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters.