Sewickley Academy students travel to Israel with helping hands
By Joanne Barron
Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Several area students left one village to spend spring break in another, far different village.
Sewickley Academy juniors Amanda McLeod, Jordan McClain and Jacob Kronin, all from Sewickley, volunteered to work during their break in the Children's Village, a communal environment in Karmiel, Israel, that houses more than 275 children whose parents cannot take care of them.
The academy students learned that the children live in “mispachtons,” which consists of a mother, father, their children and 10 to 12 foster children.
“They rely heavily on donations,” said chaperone Jerilyn Scott, academy first-grade teacher and Global Studies Committee member.
Each American student was assigned to one family unit during the day, but they all stayed together in a small guest house at night.
The trip was organized through the nonprofit Classrooms Without Borders organization, led by Tsipy Gur, director, and Laura Kronk, former academy parent and CWB board member. Also traveling with the group were students from the Ellis School and Shady Side Academy.
This was McLeod's third trip to the village.
She was 13 the first time when she traveled with her parents, who are involved in a program where they provide financial support for one of the children, Kayta Lomov, who they were able to meet in 2008.
McLeod went back the second time last year after Kronk's daughter, Trinity, an academy graduate, initiated a new program with Gur to have teens spend more time with the children in the village.
Before they made the trip, McLeod said she and McClain collected so many clothing, hat, glove and coat donations at the academy, they couldn't take all of them on the trip.
However, an adult study group, some from Sewickley Academy, will take some of the clothing with them when they go to Israel this summer.
She and McClain also sold baked goods at one of McLeod's basketball games to raise money they used to pay for extra suitcases, stuffed with donated clothing, which costs $100 each.
Scott said each student paid for their own flight to Israel. While there, students participated with the children and teens in several outings.
While academy students were there, they painted playground equipment and later volunteered at a food bank in town.
Kronin said after spending time in the village, he realized the 10-hour flight to Israel was worth it because of what they were able to give to the children.
“I definitely want to go back next year and do it again,” he said.
When they left, students were able to attend a Passover Seder with more than 1,000 people; visit several historical sites in Nazareth and Jerusalem; and hear stories from a Holocaust survivor and a former military commander who participated in the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
McLeod said the trip brought her closer to her Jewish faith and made her thankful for all she has.
For Scott, seeing the country made a lasting impact on her.
“My mother told me I shouldn't go to such a war zone, but that's so inaccurate,” she said.
“It's a beautiful country and warm and welcoming and eye-opening for me. The media's view is so narrow. I would go again, and I would send my kids there and know they would be safe,” she said.
Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Leetsdale to hold community cleanup effort
- Sewickley Herald honors: Memorial Day celebration crew recognized