Yoav Alon

Widening Horizons

The road to greater understanding always passes through new encounters.

The 12th graders, from the Makor Haim religious high school for boys in Gush Eztion, know this well. Each year, to mark their graduation, they embark on a fascinating journey that takes them far from the classroom — far enough to experience Israel’s diversity first-hand. In the process, they hone their skills in listening and conversing, and learn that responsibility for a better future begins with every one of us.

The journey is designed and led entirely by the students themselves, who create its educational content and decide on every detail of the packed itinerary. Just a glance at this year’s plans are enough to show how seriously they take the goal of moving outside their comfort zone: There’s a meeting with the principal of the Arab School for Science and Engineering in Lod; a meeting with the popular (and provocative) television personality Lior Schleien; a tour of the neighborhoods in south Tel Aviv, populated largely by African asylum seekers; a viewing of a series on ethnic and political rifts in Israel; and a tour of the Museum for Islamic Art.

These are just some of the many stations at which these high-school graduates will stop on their way into the adult world. What’s clear is that, wherever they end up, these students are heading in the right direction.