18 months ago we began a wonderful relationship with
Meged school in Ranana, a suburb of Tel Aviv. With monies from a grant through the ICenter, we have now had two
classes of students with help from their parents involved with the students in
Last week the program reached a new high. One of our fifth graders, who went to Israel
with her family to Israel over winter break, had the opportunity to meet her
pen pal as well as all the sixth graders at Meged. Sandy Elbaz, the teacher at Meged had this
to say about Macy’s visit:
We had a wonderful time with Macy and her family.
They are so nice!! My kids were very
happy to welcome Macy, we had a party for her. We ate falafels and danced a
lot. Macy is an amazing girl, she kept thanking us the
whole time- she is so sweet. May, her pen pal was overjoyed to spend some time with Macy. The best part
was seeing all the kids together, it was so emotional!!
I feel truly blessed to be a part of this project
and today I felt the real meaning of what we do. No matter who we are or where
we come from, we are connected in so many ways.
Below are Macy’s reflections of the experience.
I walk in through the gates of the Meged School
after having to wait for the teacher (Sandy) and my pen pal, May, to get
us. As we get closer to the front door I
hear kids screaming from the top floor windows, “Welcome to Israel”. I felt so special. As I walk in to the school I notice how big
it is, a lot bigger than my school. We
continued down the hall and I could see some of the kids from lower grades
playing outside on the playground. All
of the sudden I see all of these sixth graders running up to me. May was with another girl who had lived in
London and spoke perfect English. They
started to introduce me to some of the kids but the teacher led them to another
area and we kept walking to get a tour of the school. I looked at the walls and
saw how colorful they were and what the kids had made. We finally got to a huge
room which was their gymnasium. It was a party!
I was so surprised and they gave me a crown that was a little small but
“pretty”. May introduced me to more kids
and I even met the principal and one of the counselors. As I looked around I saw a big table filled
with a lot of food and a giant circle of chairs. Then the principal got everyone to sit down
and told the kids to ask me questions.
None of the kids said anything and I am guessing that was because I
don’t speak very good Hebrew and they would have to speak in English. So the principal started asking me questions
like where did we go in Israel? What was
my favorite sport? Stuff like that. Then
she told me to ask the kids questions. I
asked what sports they play and I think some of them said basketball. It was so cool but I also felt like a million
eyes were just staring at me. The
principal saved the day and told May, me, and all of the sixth graders to go
eat. It turns out that each of the kids
helped make all of the food except the falafel.
Well it was so good and I was still in shock that they did all of this
for me, just one person, and that is amazing.
I ate hummus and falafel but my sister is a peanut butter addict so all
she ate were these peanut butter puff things and she loved them.
We then sat down and ate but it wasn’t long before
the boys started to dance. Two of the
boys were the DJ’s and they played a lot of American songs. I got up and joined the fun leaving my half
eaten falafel and hummus pita on the chair.
I walked up to a circle of girls with May. They told me their pen pal names and I am
supposed to tell Jen and Brooke that their pen pals said, Hi! The teachers called the kids together in a
circle and they sang a song in Hebrew and put their arms around each other so I
did too. I didn’t know the song so I
just mumbled a tune that I thought matched what they were singing. They then sang a prayer that I knew so I
could sing a long this time. I was about
to walk back to my pita sandwich but then my sister told all of the sixth graders
to have a dance party. I’m not much of a
dancer because I’m not very good so I finally got to eat the rest of my
sandwich and watch the boys versus the girls in a dance-off. There was one boy who had one ear pierced and
had a white t-shirt. He was really good
at dancing and so were the other boys.
They all break-danced and would spin around on their heads, it was
really cool. Then it was the girls
turn. May was in it and they made up a
dance with some other girls. They had
like four different dances they would do and their moves were so cool. If I had to choose I would say it was a tie
between the boys and the girls. I mean
kids in America can’t do half of that.
Then my mom wanted my sister Jade to help the girls win by doing some
flips. She did some flip flops but
didn’t want to do a back flip on the cement so she went back to my
parents. The sixth graders wouldn’t give
up and they wanted to see her do a flip so they pulled out a mat and my sister
did a back flip. We danced a little
longer and then it was time for the worst part of my vacation, saying goodbye.
Most of the boys and girls left when the principal
and teacher said it was time to go but they all said bye to me. Some girls stayed and we hugged and said
goodbye. Two of them asked me to come to
their Bat Mitzvah on January 7th but I had to leave the next day to go back
home. After I stayed and hugged all of
the people who waited, May invited me to her house but we couldn’t stay. I felt really bad and I wanted to go to Mays’
house. They gave me some presents and
also some T-shirts for the kids at our school.
May walked me half way out and we hugged and then I said goodbye to her
and her teacher. It was really sad but I
was so happy to meet so many great people.
This was my favorite part of my vacation!
This program has had much more of an impact on some people
that I ever really thought it could do.
I am so pleased that it all worked out for Macy and her family. I look forward to her sharing her experiences
in person with all of our families at our family program this Sunday.