Emanuel welcomes visitors from Israeli school

August 14, 2012 by Michelle Favero
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Sydney’s Emanuel School has hosted 12 Israeli students and their teacher from Leo Baeck Education Centre in Haifa, Israel for the past two weeks.  The students arrived, bleary eyed and apprehensive after a 26 hour journey across oceans, continents and the vastness of Australia.

Adi Weizman with Year 5 students Jake Hyman and Matthew Joffe.

They were welcomed in true Emanuel style and soon connected with their Emanuel host students who were to become their surrogate siblings for the duration of their stay. Ten Emanuel families opened their homes and hearts, schlepping, waiting up late and getting up early to help make our visitors’ stay a resounding success.

The students integrated well into school life, taking part in economics, Hebrew, Jewish Studies and art classes. They taught and shared Hebrew songs with the Year 2 classes, engaged with the Year 5 Hebrew extension students, took part in Kabbalah meditation and didgeridoo playing. A highlight was seeing the migrating whales on the Bronte to Bondi walk and cooking Mitzvah Meals for the School at Our Big Kitchen.

Shlomo Weinberg, the accompanying teacher from Leo Baeck Education Centre summed up their visit, “We came to a new country and met people who have become part of our extended family.” Weinberg saw many parallels and similarities with Leo Baeck Education Centre and Emanuel School, “Emanuel School is very similar to our school,” he said.  “We both follow a commitment to excellence in secular and Jewish learning and have a strong emphasis on Tikkun Olam.”

Emanuel School Principal, Anne Hastings said, “The visit was an extraordinarily rich cultural experience for our families, students and our Israeli visitors. The Leo Baeck students integrated so well into the School and certainly made their mark, sharing their experiences, culture and heritage.”

As the students said their teary goodbyes, they spoke of their plans to meet up again in Israel, Australia and beyond.

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