Summer in the Holy Land


Elana Skolnick-Einhorn

Students sit and watch the sunrise at Masada

Stella Muzin, Reporter

Picture this, it is the second week of Junior Sela Wertlieb’s three-week Israel trip with Capital Camps and she is enjoying the spiritual atmosphere of the Kotel. As Wertlieb steps up towards the Kotel, she turns to the side and sees a fellow CESJDS student praying at the Kotel.

Israel summer trips are a common choice for CESJDS students because they strive to learn more about the complex history and culture of the country after learning about it in Hebrew class and through events like Zimriyah. Many students choose to go with their families however some go through camps, Jewish organizations and teen programs. 

Although Israel is a small country, there is so much to do. Between climbing Masada and Graffiti tours in Tel Aviv, every single JDS student who had the opportunity to visit Israel this summer had a unique experience. 

One of many students who got to visit Israel this summer was Junior Sela Wertlieb. Wertlieb went on a three-week Israel trip with Capital Camps. 

As part of her trip, Wertlieb got to attend the Maccabiah games opening ceremonies, a sports competition for Jewish teens around the world. “Going to the Maccabiah opening games was really fun and cool because it was a concert as well,” Wertlieb said.

Wertlieb also had the opportunity to visit many typical tourist sites in Israel such as Masada, the Dead Sea, the Old City, and many more. 

Similarly to Wertlieb, Elana Skolnick-Einhorn also visited Masada along with many other hikes during her trip to Israel with Camp Yavneh. 

“I really enjoyed all of the hiking and getting to spend time with my friends and learn more about them,” Skolnick-Einhorn said, “I got to appreciate everything around me while also being with some of my best friends.” 

Students are not the only people who visited Israel this summer… Anat Kaufman, High School Hebrew language teacher and Israel engagement coordinator, took a trip to Israel this summer as well. 

“I spent two weeks in Israel and stayed with my family, who lives in Emek Israel, in the north of Israel,” Kaufman said. “The food is the best thing in Israel. I love Israeli food so much. I also love spending time with my friends and family and, of course, being on the beach.”

Many people don’t think it’s necessary to visit Israel during the summer, especially because most JDS students partake in a three-month-long trip during senior year. However, going to Israel before that trip can help enhance your excitement for senior year. 

“I am so much more excited to go [to Israel] in senior year now, obviously I’m a little sad that I will never get to go again with my camp friends but going with my school friends for three months is something I’m really looking forward to,” Wertlieb said. 

Going to Israel over the summer also helps many students feel more connected to their Jewish Identity. 

“Israel is really connected to my Jewish identity mostly because it makes me feel like a part of something bigger and I think it’s really amazing to see so many Jews in one place, all with the same ideology,” Skolnick-Einhorn said. 

Although all students had different Israel experiences, there is one thing they can all agree on; Israel is a great place to spend your summer. So, when thinking about summer 2023, don’t leave Israel off your list of trips to consider. 

“I got really excited anytime I ran into someone [I knew from home], and staying in the same hotels and doing the same things as people I knew from home was really fun cause I got to introduce them to my camp friends,” Wertlieb said.