Weekly Newsletter – March 16, 2018

March 16, 2018  / 29 Adar 5778

    Shabbat Begins: 7:01 p.m.   Shabbat Ends: 8:08 p.m. 
Parsha: Vayikra:  Leviticus 1:1-5:26
March has been a month that has seen King David students traveling across the globe and actively involved in experiential learning opportunities. 59 students from Grades 8, 10, 11, and 12 have participated in three meaningful programs, developing life skills and helping to make the world a better place.

Very early on Sunday morning, 32 Grade 8 students, along with six chaperones, departed for an exciting and educational trip to Israel. For many of our students, this is their first time travelling to Israel and having the opportunity to immerse themselves in Israeli culture. 

Day 1

First stop – the beach!

After a long flight to Tel Aviv, the group headed to Herzliya Beach, where they immediately indulged in some sun, sand, surf, and followed that up with a quick lunch before heading to the Rosh Hanikra Grottos. Our students were treated to a quick history of the region dating back to ancient times, and then were able to explore the grottos themselves and take in the beauty of the Mediterranean.

Then it was back onto the bus for the last leg of the journey, which went through the winding roads of the north until arriving in Kfar Giladi just as the sun had set.

For a full account of Day 1, click here.

Day 2

Getting to know each other on the magnificent grounds of the school 

After a good night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast, our Grade 8s headed to our sister school, Har Vagai. Within minutes there were hugs and smiles as our kids finally met their Israeli hosts they had been connecting with for the past two weeks. The rest of the morning flew by as our kids and the Israelis played games including a spirited activity created by the Grade 8 hosts.

In the afternoon, the group headed out to the Hula Valley Bird Center, which is a key stopping point for many species of migratory birds. 

For a full account of Day 2, click here.

Day 3

Some of our students with their Har Vagai hosts

After breakfast, the kids were on and off the bus and back at Har Vagai to a chorus of happy hellos, hugs, and laughs. After a couple of games and getting reacquainted, the entire group set out to the Helicopter Disaster Memorial where, in 1997, 73 IDF soldiers died when two transport helicopters collided near Kibbutz Dafna.

From there, it was off to a lovely park within Kibbutz Dafna. Beside the river Dan, which flows through the kibbutz and Har Vagai campus, our group and their hosts  divided into two teams to partake in team-building activities led by a group specializing in unique outdoor games and puzzles. Then it was back to Har Vagai before the students headed off with their home-stay families.

For a full account of Day 3, click here.

Day 4

Exploring and learning together

Our students and the Israelis headed to Tel Dan, which is a short bus ride away from the school. Tel Dan is a nature reserve that covers over 40 hectares of lush forest and greenery. Some of the Grade 8 students of Har Vagai had prepared activities for us to do around the ancient ruins there, which date back thousands of years.

Part of the activities was a more thorough examination of the geography and history of this small corner of Israel.

For a full account of Day 4, click here.

Stay tuned for more in next week’s newsletter…

Day 1

For the first time ever, King David sent a delegation of Grade 10 students to Guatemala to take part in a service learning program. Fourteen students and three chaperones flew into Guatemala City and, after a visit to Chabad for food, headed to their hotel, ready to depart the next day for Project Somos.

For a full account of Day 1, click here.

Day 2

Making new Mayan friends

The group packed up and headed out to Project Somos, where they were greeted extremely warmly by Greg and Heather, who run the project, and their team. Greg gave a wonderful tour of Somos – it is absolutely remarkable what they have done to build a community for abused women and their young impoverished families.

For a full account of Day 2, click here.

Day 3

After breakfast, the students were split into groups for work shifts. There were four assignments. One assignment was the kitchen and community hall, one was agriculture, one was preparing a new house for a new family as well as working with the local children on English, and the last involved making cement and plastering walls for a new washroom building at the playground.

For a full account of Day 3, click here.

Day 4

Who knew painting could be so fun?

The students worked both in the kitchen and on playing with the children and teaching them English, and continued to work on plastering the new bathrooms with concrete, interior painting, and sanding outdoor furniture. As a bonus, there was a little time to feed the chickens next door and get some cuddle time.

Digging holes for new fence posts

For a full account of Day 4, click here.

Day 5

Just after 8:00 a.m. the group loaded onto a bus with the nine Somos children and headed to some Mayan ruins and the national monument, Iximche. It was a festival day and some locals came to do a ritual ceremony – unfortunately no pictures were allowed. Afterwards the students did some shopping at the Thursday market in Tecpan.

Visiting the Thursday market

For a full account of Day 5, click here.

Day 6

The kids were once again hard at work, cleaning bathrooms, chopping food in the kitchen, collecting dried onion seeds to start growing in the green house, working with the pre-school children, scraping off paint, and even throwing cement at walls, tiring themselves out just in time for Shabbat. 

For a full account of Day 6, click here.

Days 7 and 8

The students had a meaningful Shabbat, led by Rabbi Berger, with the lighting of candles, a Kabbalat Shabbat on the building’s roof, and a delicious Shabbat dinner. On Saturday, the Rabbi led Havdalah, which generated lots of discussion with the students.

The view at Lake Atitlan

On Sunday, the group headed to Panajachel on Lake Atitlan, going to the Lacustre Museum before heading to San Pedro and having lunch at Chabad. Then, most importantly, the students were given ample time for shopping.

For a full account of Days 7 and 8, click here.

Day 9

On their final day in Guatemala, the students gave a heartfelt goodbye to their Project Somos family, before heading out to Antigua. There, they had the opportunity to wander around the city, visiting historic sites and shopping before heading back to Guatemala City.

Saying goodbye to new friends

For a full account of Day 9, click here.

Back Row: Yoad Eilon-Heiber, Daniel Shuchat, Jacqueline Belzberg, Hallie Seeklus, Shayna Lenett, Mr. Gorski, Sharon Meyers, Deanna Veltchev
Front Row: Adina Kline, Rakeea Chesick-Gordis, Leah Weidman, Milena Markovich, Noa Platner, Ya’el Rai-Kastiel, Ms. Cameron

On Thursday, March 1, 13 excited Grade 12 students and their chaperones headed to Montreal, Quebec for Model UN. The group spent the first couple days exploring the city, before heading to the conference on Sunday.

During the opening ceremony, students had the opportunity to listen to a speaker who talked about the importance of tying a Jewish perspective of justice into education, and how Jewish values could be applied to improve not just the day-to-day opportunities of human beings, but also to help improve the United Nations and their effectiveness as a force of justice in the world.

The students really got into the swing of things on Day 2. Friendships were forming – and friendly rivalries too! By the end of the day, everyone was smiling and having a great time. They were also starting to make resolutions and take actions in their committees! 

The third day was the closing ceremony, with thanks and awards. This year, King David student Jacqueline Belzberg won an Honourable Delegate award for her work in the Crisis Committee! Congratulations, Jacqueline!

L-R: Solly Khalifa, Grade 11, Milena Markovich and Rachel Bugis, both Grade 12

On Wednesday, March 14, we celebrated Pi Day with a contest and, thanks to PAC, pie and ice cream! We had seven students participate in the contest: two from Grade 9, three from Grade 11, and two from Grade 12. Everyone worked diligently to do their very best and the results were amazing!

Kol Ha’Kavod to Issy Lipetz, Grade 9, who was our contest winner and took home an iPad, generously donated by Inflection Alternative Assets and Ari Shiff, Carla van Messel, and family. Congratulations also to Rachel Bugis, our Grade 12 winner, and Lynne Alto, our Grade 11 winner!

Shabbat Shalom!


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King David High School, 5718 Willow Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4S9 Canada

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