Israel Education for a Tulsa Teacher:
I want to express my deepest appreciation for allowing me the
opportunity to visit Israel in March, 2016, as a member of the Carver
Middle School Exchange with Nofarim. The experiences I had were
memorable. The one thing I have shared with my family, friends, and
colleagues is how the trip was vacation-like. Never once during the
trip did we feel threatened or endangered. Instead, the trip was full
of historical sites, delicious food, friendliness, fun, walking,
breathtaking sites, humor, heartfelt mission, and so much
Several things come to mind when I think of the Israel trip. One was
how organized the trip was. Lori Abramson had the days filled with
various and worthwhile activities. In Jerusalem, she selected a good
tour guide, Margee, who shared a lot of information with humor and
facts. What was interesting is that all the guides (at least 3 or 4) and
Lori were originally born and lived in the United States. But, as
adults, they moved to Israel. They love living in Israel. Not only did we
see present day Jerusalem, but it was amazing to know we walked
the same steps of the narrow streets and alleys as those who
preceded us from ancient times. While in Jerusalem, we visited the
Wailing Wall. I was touched by the somberness and meaningful
experience. I observed the women on the female side who did not
take this experience lightly. They were serious and in their moment
of solitude you could see they were not thinking of the day’s
activities. Some even had tears in their eyes. Some brought their
children with them to experience the moment. The messages of
prayer I wrote to several people made me contemplate and reflect
as I placed the cards in the wall.
One crucial and important objective of this exchange is for the
students to bond and develop friendships. Well, the students did
bond. First, they did this in Tulsa. When the Carver group arrived in
Israel, the Israeli students were enthusiastically waiting for us at the
airport. Not only did both the Carver and Nofarim students bond,
they said the relationships are for a lifetime. Several students from
Carver and Nofarim asked me on the second to last full day a
question. The question is: When are we going to visit each other
again? I said there were no plans for any future organized group trip
to visit each other. They quickly said this was “unfair.” I said to
please explain this. The students said that all the adults hoped that
they would become friends while in Tulsa. They did. Then, all the
adults and organizations hoped the students would continue the
friendships while in Israel. This did happen. Now, they said, you
don’t expect or plan to have any more trips to continue these
friendships? We want to see each other. I said, probably not. They
were extremely disappointed and not happy. But, some of the
Carver students said they will try to plan for a senior trip in high
school to visit their friends in Israel. I thought what an
accomplishment that one of the major objectives was met. The
seeds of friendship and opening the door to global
understanding are being met.
I observed the importance of family and service. While in Jerusalem,
I shared a room with one of the teachers. She talked of her family.
She has 8 children and her brother has 13 children. Even though
they live in two separate cities, the two families spend time together,
especially for Shabbat and other holidays. In Tiberias, I stayed with
the principal of Nofarim. Her family is very important. Her oldest son
is in the military. Currently, he is stationed in Haifa. Every Friday, he
returns home for Shabbat. The principal’s husband said he is proud
of his son. However, he has one worry. It is when his son and the
other soldiers, who are in their military uniforms, are waiting at the
bus stop to return to Haifa. He said any suicide bomber or terrorist
could attack a group of soldiers. Their second son will graduate
from high school in a week. Then, proudly he will join the military. He
wants to become a fighter pilot. My final days were spent with
another teacher. All three of her sons have served in the military.
Another meaningful experience was visiting the Poriya Hospital. We
purchased toys for the children patients. But, while we were at the
hospital, the pediatric doctor and nurses explained how the toys
would be used. We learned that Syrian children who do not have
medical care are brought to the Israeli border. The children are left
at the border. The Israeli soldiers pick the children up and take them
to Poriya Hospital. The children are medically taken care of by the
hospital staff. When the children recover and regain their health, they
are given a toy or two. Then the soldiers take the children back to
the border. The parents pick them up. The doctor said they have
seen as many as 400 patients in just the past few years. Now, do we
hear any of this goodwill in the news?
The Carver teachers have shared with Dr. Woolridge, Carver
principal, the importance of continuing the relationship with Nofarim.
The teachers know what we need to do at Carver to make our
students aware about Israel and activities to strengthen this bond.
Plus, the Nofarim teachers want to continue this relationship. As you
walk through the hallways of Nofarim school you can see posters,
postcards, and pictures of Tulsa as well as Oklahoma. We must
continue this relationship that was begun almost twenty years ago by
Debbie Givens (Tulsa) and another teacher from Nofarim.
As a result of this first trip exchange to Israel, already I have had four
students and parents to approach me and ask what they need to do
to go on the next trip. There is excitement and a desire to visit Israel.
Once again, I sincerely appreciate the funding and support the
Oklahoma Israel Exchange Organization has provided to
allow Carver students and teachers to travel to Israel. Your
sponsorship is helping to plant seeds of friendship,
understanding, history, and awareness among individuals
who represent the two countries. Your organization is helping to
bridge individuals to be closer and not so distant. Thank You!!!
If you have comments or questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Sincerely, Patty M. Jorgenson
Carver 7th Grade Geography Teacher
Going to Israel really changed my life and how I
look at things. Two of my favorite activities were
kayaking and going to Purim. When we went kayaking it
was a beautiful day at the Sea of Galilee. The water was
surprisingly sweet and cool. Did you know that the
kayaks we used are easier to handle than most. After we
kayaked (despite the "no swimming" sign) we got into
the water. We had also found these big foam rectangles
to float on and we had lots of fun pushing each other off
of them and paddling them around. Getting ready for
Purim at Noah's house was cool too. I was the Cheshire
Cat, Mia (my friend and room mate) was Sushi, and
Noah was a rock star. I would tell everyone's costumes
but that would take too long. At the Purim party we all
had fun dancing and eating food. The different music had
no effect on our ability to dance. The whole trip was
super cool and I hope that the next delegation that goes
will have as much fun as I did!
My two favorite memories from Israel were going to the
Purim Ball and kayaking in the Sea of Galilee. For the
Purim Ball, Cynthia (one of the other Americans) and I
got our makeup done by a friend of our host family. I was
a cat and Cynthia was a genie. One of the Israeli girls'
friends did our hair for us. We had a great time getting
ready and it was really fun. We went to the school for the
party and we danced and sang and had lots of fun. On
the Sabbath, we went to the Sea of Galilee and we
kayaked around and went up the Jordan River. Then we
played and splashed around in the water for a while. We
had a picnic, then went back into the water. The water
was really cold but it was really fun. Overall, I had an
amazing time in Israel and it was a life changing
experience to be able to experience other cultures
and to meet so many different people.
Students have life-changing experiences in Israel!
One of my favorite experiences while in Israel is our journey to
the Golan Heights in Northern Israel. We rode in Jeeps up to
the Heights, and saw many remnants of the War. It is so much
more educational and entertaining to see history preserved.
This effect was heightened because the areas of interest
were not transported to a museum or photographed, they
were right in front of our eyes, unaffected by the innovation of
the 21st Century. Also, we got to go inside an abandoned
Israeli military bunker, which is just as cool as it sounds (if not
cooler). There¹s nothing quite like navigating a war bunker
with no lighting that hasn¹t been inhabited in over forty years.
When I went to the Golan Heights, my lessons and packets
came to life, as did my interest in the material.
I very much enjoyed swimming, kayaking, and just
roughhousing in the Sea of Galilee. Although not scheduled,
this event was much fun and is one of my fondest memories of
my time in Israel. Since the event took place during Shabbat,
our day was not busy and we were not stressed. Because of
this, it was a casual yet incredible bonding experience not
only with the Israeli delegation, but with my American peers as
well. Through this experience (and many others), I learned that
although our cultures are different, we are one and the
I would like to
OKIE and all
allowing me to
For the first time ever in this 17 year relationship, this year marks a new direction for the partnership
as the two schools had their very first student and teacher exchange. Generous gifts from the
Jewish Federation, the Oklahoma Israel Exchange, the Charles and Lynne Schusterman Family
Foundation, the Tulsa Global Alliance, and the Carver Foundation made the exchange possible.
The entire exchange was well planned with the committed work of many individuals and especially
Partnership2Gether and Sovev Kinneret Partnership.
Over the years, students at Carver Middle School in Tulsa and
Amal Nofarim School in Tiberias, Israel have engaged in a
partnership that has included learning about each other through
letter exchanges, music, dance, and a concurrent unit of study on
the Holocaust, which has always culminated with a live video
conference between the two schools.
From the Teacher/Leader:
On behalf of the Carver Middle School Nofarim Exchange staff and students, I would like to thank our benefactors
for their generous support of the Sovev Kinneret Partnership for the Carver –Nofarim Exchange. Your gifts made it
possible for three teachers to travel with six students to Israel in March in order to help us maintain and enhance
our ongoing relationship between Carver Middle School in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Amal Nofarim Middle School in
Tiberius, Israel. During our visit both students and teachers became ambassadors of intercultural understanding and
gained global perspectives that have created a stronger cultural bond, which we are sharing with other teachers and
with students in our classrooms. As a result, we have watched this experience ignite a fire in our students. They
want to know more about Israel and Israelis, and many students now want to participate in the exchange program.
This visit provided an opportunity for our group to have authentic first-hand experience with Israeli culture, history,
and religions. As teachers, we are thrilled with the tremendous learning that occurred during our visit. There is no
greater education than experience, and our students and teachers had the experience of a lifetime. Our kids have
even designated a Carver-Nofarim holiday for themselves in December, declaring it “Delegation Day. “ They plan
to have a group Skype session with their Israeli hosts on that day and hope to have a reunion in their senior year of
Thank you for investing in our teachers and students at Carver Middle School. Your gifts will help us to continue
to develop our relationship with a strong foundation.
Sincerely, Jeanne Hart