Having an Israeli teenager at home means dealing with the question of the trip to Poland (i.e. the Masa Polin, for the Hebraically-oriented among you).
Here in TRLEOOB*, it’s an issue which has come up before, but like other parenting questions, the answer may be different for different children.
And so, once again, YZG and I find ourselves discussing this topic. We’re not the only ones, of course, and I’ve even had the privilege of comparing notes with fellow bloggers Jameel and Baila.
<brief interjection> An added fringe benefit of blogging is that it enables one to become an obnoxious, shameless namedropper… :-) </interjection>
The arguments for and against the trip haven’t really changed since it first became an accepted rite of passage for Israeli teens some 15-20 years ago.
- Strengthens the participants’ Jewish, religious, and Zionist identities.
- Forges an experiential bond to our history and to the ancient and once-vibrant Jewish communities, Chassidic courts, shuls, and yeshivot which were destroyed by the Nazis and their willing accomplices.
- Raises numerous halachic, philosophical and ideological questions about leaving Eretz Yisrael, supporting our enemies, and so on.
- Cost. (At one school, the total price for this year’s weeklong trip is a whopping 6500-7000 NIS!)
Due to these concerns, many parents wonder why the schools – especially the national-religious ones – can’t figure out a way to accomplish these same goals here in Israel.
And in fact, many schools have now started to offer local alternatives to the trip.
For instance, one school recently announced that this year, for the first time, they’ll have a three-day seminar for the kids who aren’t going to Poland. (The price will be about 700-1000 NIS.)
Although the students are skeptical and have dismissed it as a mere “consolation prize,” the school insists that they’re making every effort to ensure that it’ll be a viable option.
Your thoughts on the subject?
*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog