Anonymous gift of $100,000 creates an endowment for senior Poland-Israel trip


Emilie Benyowitz

EXPERIENCE: Members of the class of 2013 were wrapped in the Israeli flag at Auschwitz last April on the senior Poland-Israel trip. The endowment will hopefully make it possible for more seniors to attend the trip.

Eric Bazak, Staff Writer

An anonymous donor has created a new $100,000 endowment to support Shalhevet’s annual senior Poland-Israel trip, hoping to make sure every senior has the ability to attend the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal called it an “important step.

“Thrilled to hear that donors are starting to recognize the importance of endowments,” Rabbi Segal said, “as well as the profound impact that our Poland-Israel trip has on our students.”

Interest earned on the endowment will provide scholarships for the Israel portion of the trip for three or four students per year, depending on factors such as interest rates, additional gifts, and students’ needs, according to Executive Director Mrs. Robyn Lewis.

Last year, several seniors did not make the trip, which cost about $5,200 per student.

This year, she said, the price may be even higher, because this year’s senior class is smaller and certain costs are fixed.

The journey begins in Poland, where students visit concentration camps and massacre sites as well as cities where Jewish life thrived before the Holocaust.  They also meet with the tiny Jewish communities that remain there.

Then, they fly to Israel and have the chance to see what the State of Israel means in a new light.

“The Poland-Israel trip is one of the best things we do in the school, so we are very lucky and thankful that every student should be able to go,” said Principal Reb Noam Weissman.  “I was super excited when I heard.”

According to Mrs. Lewis, since the grant is an endowment, Shalhevet plans to only use the money earned from the interest the endowment makes, not the principle, to fund scholarships. With that strategy, depending on the economy, the fund would hopefully last forever.

This year, since there is not enough time to wait for the endowment to receive interest, Shalhevet will take money from the principle and replace that money taken later on, she said.

“I am incredibly thankful and appreciative for the thoughtful, kind, and generous gift,” Ms. Lewis said.

Senior Yan Kligerman is hoping to cross the American borders for the first time.

“Since I’ve never been outside of the country, this is an exciting trip for me,” said Yan.

“The grant is extremely generous.”