Going to Israel this summer?

Enjoy! Have the time of your life. Eat some Marzipan for me (please! that trans-fat heaven is way too good to eat less than a pound in one sitting, so, um, better you than me!). And please bring back treasures, stories, and pictures.

Children know the difference between the real and toy versions of things, and their preference is clear. My husband has given up on keeping control of his iphone and lets our son run through the house using the light sabre app. Dialing the numbers on a real phone to call Bubbie? My two-year-old thinks pressing the numbers is every bit as fun as actually getting to talk with Bubbie (but please don’t share that information with her).

Real treasures from Israel go a long way with children. By treasures, I mean menus in Hebrew, Cinematek tickets, El Al luggage tags, a map of Caesarea from the Israel National Parks Authority – the currency of daily life that often fades into the background of adult life, yet children find marvelous.

With these treasures, we offer children a glimpse into Israeli life, and tangible examples of similarities and differences between American and Israeli cultures. What the children notice becomes incorporated into their play. It becomes part of what children know.

Pictures and stories of an actual trip to Israel, too, carry a certain magic. Listening to a friend tell about her trip to Israel, other children gain the sense that Israel must be a real place – after all, their friend went to Israel and has pictures and stories of what it’s like there. Children notice different things than adults, and classmates are likely to relate to what their friend noticed during her trip.

So please bring back treasures, stories, and pictures of your trip to Israel. Stop by the Enrichment Center office or ask me for a manila envelope so you can keep all of your treasures in one place. We can also send you with a handmade journal in which to draw or write about your families’ experiences. Those details of daily life are precious. What authentic Israeli treasures would you like to collect or have other folks collect?

I can hardly wait to see what everyone brings.

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