Twenty-two eleventh grade students, participants in Israel Routes Odyssey – Masa Israeli, arrived at ADI Moriah in Gedera on a bright, sunny day to join residents, staff and volunteers on a local outing. Utilizing the fine weather, the group painted pictures, played games and listened to music at a nearby park. When one volunteer ran back to the bus, suddenly re-emerging with guitar in hand, the entire group gave cheer, and singing and dancing ensued.
Israel Routes Odyssey is a unique educational experience, designed to strengthen individual, Jewish and Zionistic identities, solidifying connection and the sense of belonging to the people and land of the State of Israel.
For many participants, this was a first-time exposure to people with special needs, and many within the group expressed feelings of anxiety and apprehension before the meeting. All fears quickly dissipated as the students realized they were taking part in a humanitarian, heart-to-heart experience.
After the outing, students voiced many questions concerning present day society and the place of those with different needs within society’s structure. The questions and answers will certainly transform participants into better, more caring people, helping them come to terms with and redefine their own preconceptions.
The day was also a wonderful experience for ADI Moriah residents, who enjoyed the outing immensely, relishing each moment of song, happiness and laughter.
The month of Adar, with the upcoming Purim holiday, reminds us all that happiness is contagious, and that one moment of joy can change the entire day.
Our thanks to the staff of Israel Routes Odyssey, especially community project coordinator Maayan Basher for the wonderful day! We look forward to continuing the partnership for many more years to come.