By Avery Mann and Sarah Martinez
On a brisk February morning, 10 Kavod explorers set off for their long-anticipated trip to Israel. The excitement was palpable, as none of these eighth graders had traveled across the ocean without their families. For many, it was the first time traveling out of the country.
Kavod Charter School is a TK-8 tuition-free public school that teaches Hebrew. The curriculum is a robust global studies program that educates its students, referred to as explorers, about countries all over the world. With Hebrew at the core of its mission, Kavod’s global studies program has a heightened emphasis on Israeli culture, which is brought to life for the school’s eighth graders who venture to Israel as a part of a capstone trip. What makes Kavod remarkable is the school’s diversity. Kavod brings an appreciation of Israel to explorers that represent a wide range of various cultures and ethnicities.
Kavod is an affiliate of Hebrew Public, a network of schools throughout the United States whose objective is to broaden an understanding and appreciation of Israel to those who otherwise may not be aware. With the support of Hebrew Public, the Kavod explorers Israel trip was possible.
The explorers who joined the trip were only the second group of eighth graders at Kavod to make this journey, as Kavod graduated their inaugural kindergarten class from eighth grade only last year. While the 2022 eighth grade class was the first group to have such an adventure, this year’s trip proved just as sentimental as Kavod is currently celebrating its 10th year anniversary.
The journey took Kavod’s explorers on a 10-day adventure visiting all the sights Israel has to offer and immersing them in a culture they had been learning about in the classroom since 2013. As explorer Sophia highlights, “It was an experience beyond compare, and I will never forget it. Not only was I able to float in the Dead Sea, view the underwater grottoes of Rosh HaNikra, and tour the Old City in Jerusalem, but I got to do all of these amazing activities with my friends—old and new.” Favorite activities among the travelers included the Negev desert, Masada, camel riding, and sleeping in the Bedouin tents.
At Kavod, explorers are taught to embrace new cultures and appreciate every country’s traditions, history, cultural nuances and achievements. For explorer Ari, the best part of the trip was “Getting to learn about the rich culture and history of Israel. It felt like every new day had a new interesting story to hear about. Listening about the technology was interesting too; it’s amazing how much this tiny country has accomplished in just under 75 years.”
Students were exposed to unique customs and traditions. As Milo described, “It was so incredible to see the difference in culture between America and Israel. One prominent example of this was on Friday afternoon. Everyone was preparing for Shabbat (the Jewish day of rest), but after about 6 p.m., no one was out. All the shops were closed; the people had gone home to their families. It was calming. In America, we don’t even have one day a year where we do that, but in Israel, it happens once a week! It was just magical to see this happen, and even if you don’t see it through a religious lens, it is still amazing to see.”
Ultimately, Mitra, another explorer, described the journey perfectly. “This trip overall cannot be put into words; it was truly an unforgettable experience, one that I will remember forever. I made so many fond memories and friends on this phenomenal once in a lifetime journey, ones that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Learning about the beautiful country of Israel for the past few years in school was nothing compared to actually being there and seeing it firsthand. Encountering famous historical landmarks such as Masada, the Old City of Jerusalem, the Ayalon Institute, etc., becoming a part of the culture, tasting new, delicious foods, and meeting the wonderful people there was such an honoring experience and I’m so grateful to have been a part of it. This journey is what truly defines the meaning of a trip of a lifetime.”
Kavod brings a community of diverse ethnicities who appreciate the history and vital importance of Israel to San Diego. As a part of the Hebrew Public network, Kavod unites children from multiple demographics to share an opportunity to experience Israel firsthand and further spread the appreciation of Israel among a wide variety of communities. Upon return from the trip, Lorenzo’s sentiments perfectly validate the importance of Kavod’s mission: “Israel was one of the best experiences of my life. All of the new people that I met and the new places that I saw were so surreal. These are places that I’ve been learning about for years and finally getting to see them is amazing. No matter your religion or your beliefs I think Israel is an amazing country and you should all go in your life.”
Kavod Charter School is an integral part in bringing a heightened appreciation of Israel to the community by developing global citizens.
To learn more about how to support Kavod or to enroll an explorer, visit kavodcharter.org.