After just returning from our trip, it is important to look at the goals we had going into it and then to reflect on the degree to which those goals were reached. We at Central Synagogue believe that some of the best learning for teenagers is experiential. As was mentioned a number of times throughout our journey, it is possible to learn a great deal about a topic from text books, articles and videos. However, to stand in the places where history happened, and to speak to those who were involved, escalates the experience to an entirely different level. We also believe that the South is a setting in which experiential education can take place in a way that it will serve to deepen or increase one's Jewish identity at home. And lastly, we strive to create a sense of community where students are able to develop deep connections with their peers, teachers and clergy members. In all of these cases, as shown by the students' reflections throughout the trip, we consider this trip to have been a great success.
The students walked away having a newfound understanding of Judaism's value of standing up for those living embittered lives. In our wrap-up session, Billy expressed to the group the fact that the world is constantly changing. He challenged them to put themselves in the middle of change -- "will you be one of the ones to watch change happen, or will you be a piece of the puzzle that will work to make the change happen." (see link to video below)
Judging by the response, we are confident in saying that our 25 participants will be (continue to be) powerful agents of change and justice. Speaking for all of the adults on the trip, we could not have been more proud of the maturity and critical thinking that we witnessed while traveling together on this very special journey.