By Elana Zeltser
Fifteen Israeli sophomores toured the upper school campus and engaged in a discussion with a panel of students Monday in the hopes of seeing “what schools in the United States are all about,” said Father J. Young.
The students, who attend Gymnasia School in Tel Aviv, Israel, are participating in a foreign exchange program with New Community Jewish School in West Hills, California. Rabbi Emily Feigenson arranged for the visitors and their two faculty advisers to have a student led tour of the campus. They then convened in the Emery Room, meeting with Jewish students from Harvard-Westlake. They discussed what it was like being a member of the Jewish community in the United States rather than in Israel. The group then talked mainly about the effects of the Israeli mandatory army draft on the lives and mindsets of the visiting students.
“It was so interesting. They didn’t understand why we wouldn’t enlist in the army. They grow up their whole lives knowing it is something they have to do,” said Mazelle Etessami ’13 who sat in on the discussion.