Grade 10 LA Trip – Day 2

February 13, 2020: Day 2 Update

At the California Science Center

Breakfast came with mixed results. There were no salads and some circular cereals, but they were not fruity. Better luck tomorrow. Our travel day started with Rabbi preparing us for the day with a talk about our plans: a morning at Exposition Park, lunch at Pizza World, a visit to the Holocaust Museum and shopping at the Grove Mall before dinner back on Pico.
First, Exposition Park. This is home to the California Science Center and the Los Angeles Coliseum. Among the draws of the Center is the space shuttle Endeavour. They wouldn’t let us in it, as they knew we would pull on all sorts of levers and doo-hickeys – both official science terms. Everyone was blown away by the spacecraft’s enormity and found it fascinating. Students really had fun in the aquarium portion of the center. Highlights were a giant fish and a touch tank that included sea urchins and star fish. Next was the food, pizza, pasta and salad. Carbs, dairy, and vegetables: most of the major food groups were present and we were well-fueled for the rest of the day.

The students somberly exploring the Holocaust Museum

Our next stop would be the Holocaust Museum. In preparation for our trip, the students did a considerable amount of studying about the Holocaust. In groups, they learned about different elements of the Holocaust from freedom fighters to propaganda. One of the main missions of our trip is to extend the students’ learning beyond the classroom by seeing artifacts from the Holocaust. This museum was the perfect location for that experience. 

On our way over, Rabbi gave us some background on the museum, which was started by Holocaust survivors who brought items with them post-war and donated them to the museum. Rabbi challenged the students to understand the sacrifice of the people who gave up those items. At the museum, the students were led through the many rooms by docents who explained the books, suitcases, pictures, and many family heirlooms in each room. There were also letters from Einstein and a model of the Sobibor Concentration Camp. We concluded our visit with a talk from a survivor who experienced Kristallnacht firsthand. His family’s general store was ruined on that night and it was a turning point in his life, as his family was able to get him out of Germany to Sweden for boarding school. His story was incredible, and provided for an emotional and deeply moving experience for the students. After the museum, we took some downtime to reflect before moving on.
Next came the shopping. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Grove Shopping Mall. Here, the students were exposed to prices in American dollars: this was shock and awe of another kind. Some bought shirts, candy, and most importantly, fruits at the Fairfax Farmers Market for our evening Fruit Party. After shopping – or, as I prefer, window shopping – we made our way to Hollywood Boulevard to see the stars. The world premiere of Call of the Wild was happening, so the streets were teaming with near-celebrities. Students were pleased to get a photo with child actor Parker Bates of the show This Is Us. The students were really pleased to see this landmark that they have seen countless times on TV and in movies.

Meals – always the best part of travel!

After a full afternoon, we were ready for more of the fine restaurants in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. Some of the night’s favorites were Schnitzly and the Burger Bar. To end the night, we all gathered in the lobby for more reflection and our Fruit Party. We said "Shehechianu" for all the new fruits we were going to try for the first time. We enjoyed mini organic apples, mango, star fruit, papaya, and Asian pears. It was a great day and an excellent demonstration of the balance of life: seeing how good can be made of bad, and how we can persist regardless.
Friday’s plans include visiting the Museum of Tolerance for the day, going to Happy Minyan, and then having Shabbat with local families before going offline for a Shomer Shabbas weekend. With all that, our final update will come Sunday. 

Good Shabbas from Cali.,
Matt Dichter
King David High School, 5718 Willow Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z4S9 Canada
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