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Last week, a group of 40 students from Tulane University in New Orleans landed in Israel, as part of a Birthright trip. The group was joined by eight soldiers from Rosh Ha’ayin who left the uniforms behind and joined their new friends from New Orleans for a week. On Tuesday the group arrived for a visit in Rosh Ha’ayin in the framework of the Partnership’s “Birthright2GETHER” program of “Partnership2Gether” project of the Jewish Agency for Israel, connecting Rosh Ha’ayin to the Jewish community in New Orleans
On Tuesday, the group arrived to Begin High School and were received with great excitement by about 120 high school students. The gathering opened with a performance by “gospel” the musical ensemble of Begin high school. Everyone watched a short video on Rosh HaAyin that was prepared by the twelfth graders and was praised. The rest of the gathering was devoted to discussions in English in order to get to know and prepare the seniors for the oral matriculation exams in English.
The Large tables prepared in advance for group discussions, were filled with excited students and visitors. English was the only language spoken in school for two hours. The American students were excited to hear about the experiences of Israelis who are about to start their military service, as well as the lives of young people in Israel and Rosh Ha’ayin. The seniors on their part heard about American Jewish life and college life. “It’s interesting to hear young American Jews, despite them being Jewish as us- live in a different reality altogether” said Yuval, a senior student at Begin.
The conversations flowed and when it was time to say goodbye it was really hard to separate the two sides. The School staff organized the event in an exceptional manner, under the direction of the principle Zehavit and the English coordinator, Monica.
After the meeting the Americans were hosted by the soldier’s families from Rosh Ha’ayin for an Israeli dinner.
As many American participants mentioned, the visit to Rosh Ha’ayin was one of the most significant experiences, many mentioned this as the most prominent and meaningful part of their experience in Israel.
Hadar Meidani, An Israeli senior said: “It was an amazing experience that we will not forget”