Poland-Israel trip moved back to May

Zev Hurwitz, BP Emeritus

Leila Miller, Editor-in-Chief

Previously scheduled vacations, co-curricular conflicts, AP exams, and fundraising and teaching schedules caused Rabbi Segal to move this year’s senior Poland-Israel trip back to its usual time slot in May instead of the February date he announced earlier this year.

In an e-mail sent to senior families Sept. 14, Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal said exact dates have not been set, but the trip would span two to three weeks with the group returning early in June. An itinerary is developing and tentative, he said, and may include a Shabbat in Prague and Shavuot in Jerusalem.

Reaction against the original February dates was particularly strong from AP teachers, who said the loss of two-plus weeks of instruction would leave students insufficiently prepared for the college-level exams. That prompted talk of moving the trip to the January winter break, which in turn ran into family vacation plans.

“We could have done it,” Rabbi Segal said in an interview, “ but I felt like the idea is too good and I didn’t want it to get lost because some technical detail.”

He said “three or four” families had already made vacation plans conflicting with the January date.

“I just felt like it’s important for parents to know that when we set something on the schedule we mean it,” Rabbi Segal said. He said he would move the trip to fall or winter for next year’s seniors, the class of 2013.

Students did not complain at the news.

“I want to go to Poland,” senior Laura Melamed said. “I don’t care when it is.”

“I didn’t really want my break to be cut off in January and I know that a lot of the teachers didn’t like the February dates,” agreed senior Talia Rotenberg. “But I understood the point was so that we could bring back our experiences and share them with the school [after the trip]. I get that it’s important for us to talk about our trip and love for Israel, especially since we don’t have Bat Ami to spread Israel pride.”

According to Rabbi Segal, changing the trip’s dates was a two- to three-week process that involved parents who were “thankful that we contacted them.”

The February date would have included a one-and-a-half day visit to tour three schools in Israel, in hopes that students would have more time to consider an Israel gap year than is possible with a May trip, Rabbi Segal said.

“For this year, we will find another way to have our students seriously consider a year in Israel,” he said in his e-mail.