June 18, 2024
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June 18, 2024
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MDS Students Embark On Israel Mission 

In a heartwarming display of compassion and unity, 25 seventh and eighth grade students and parents from Manhattan Day School embarked on the first mission to Israel post-October 7 by a Modern Orthodox elementary school, focused on helping those who were impacted by October 7 and bringing chizuk to Israelis affected by the war.

Guided by Dr. Pesha Kletenik, Rabbi Ariel Cohen, Morah Lital Cohen and Morah Shira Chmilavski, these young minds embraced the opportunity to make a meaningful impact beyond their classrooms. Their mission went beyond sightseeing; it was about embodying the values of empathy and service.

Over five days, participants engaged in a plethora of chesed: picking eight tons of kohlrabi for over 3,200 food-insecure Israelis with Leket Israel, partnering with Osim Sameach to make a carnival for sick children at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital and bring cupcakes to injured soldiers at Tel Hashomer hospital, decorating a wall mural with orphans at Emunah’s Achuzat Sarah childrens’ home, visiting disabled children at Shalva, and learning with Rebbetzin Thaler of Yad Leah. These programs set the tone for an incredibly uplifting and spiritual Shabbat, beginning with tefillah at the Kotel with Rav Meir Goldvict, Rabbi Steve Burg from Aish HaTorah, and three injured soldiers. At Shabbat lunch, participants heard from Holocaust survivor Rena Quint, who shared her own story of perseverance.

To bring chizkuk to families impacted by the war, the mission visited the Nova festival site and wrote letters in a sefer Torah with family members of victims. They met with Eli Beer from United Hatzalah and heard about Hatzalah’s heroic actions on October 7 and made a Shabbat oneg for displaced families at the Prima Kings hotel. Finally, students and parents brought tefillot and comfort to families sitting at Hostage Square in Tel Aviv and had a meaningful visit to Har Herzl with the great grandson of MDS founders Els and Charles Bendheim.

These experiences not only broadened students’ and parents’ understanding of Israel but also instilled in them a lifelong commitment to chesed and the Jewish people. Neta Wiznia, 8G student said, “Going to Israel was an inspirational trip that not only connected me to the land but also to my Israeli heritage. Not only did I become closer to the Israelis, but also to my fellow MDS classmates.” The Israel mission served as a testament to the power of education, compassion and the boundless potential of young hearts eager to make a positive impact on the world.

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