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Jewish Scholastic Press Association

Jewish Scholastic Press Association

How is the current Israel-Hamas conflict going to affect our future Israel plans?

Gabrielle Sosland
HBHA lowered its Israeli flag to commemorate the murders and hostages that have been affected in the war. The HBHA community stands side-by-side with Israel as they push through these difficult times.

Visiting Israel on a summer program is a beneficial and touching experience for teens all over the world. For me, traveling to Israel would be an experience bigger than just taking a family vacation out of the country; it would be a chance for me to connect with my Jewish roots and culture to see how Jews in Israel live their lives in such a different space.

The summer camp I attend (Herzl Camp) is structured to have a summer between being a camper and counselor where you don’t attend camp for a summer to provide the opportunity for teens to expand their Judaism alongside other camp friends, many of whom do so in Israel.

I aspire to attend an Israel summer program because it would give me the chance to connect with teens outside of the Herzl bubble and meet other Jewish high schoolers from all over the world. This is yet another reason why taking a trip like this would open up so many possibilities for expanding my horizons with the people I interact with.

Over the past few years, my excitement towards the summer 2024 Israel trip was through the roof, when all of a sudden, the excitement for this experience in Israel instantly became fear as the tragic events of October 7th, 2023 unfolded.


A student sits in front of her computer stressed about what will happen to her summer Israel trip (Gabrielle Sosland)


With so many unknowns as the war continues, I’m not sure if I’d feel comfortable traveling to Israel in its current state. I’m not even certain the trip would still be offered at all, and instantly, the memories, learning opportunities, and all the opportunities for growth as a Jewish young adult don’t feel like a possibility any longer.

Though the Jewish community at large tries to maintain an optimistic mindset, it is painful to imagine what those in Israel are experiencing. Yet, somehow the idea of traveling there this summer still lingers.

Going to Israel can make a huge impact on everyone, but especially on people who haven’t been to Israel before.

In an interview with sophomore Mia Belzer (Medina, Minn.), she expressed how important going on a trip to Israel would be for her, as she had never been before. Israel is a place full of history and the beautiful culture of the Jewish religion, Belzer said.

Aside from the excitement these Israel summer vacations bring her, she is also filled with concern as she contemplates whether taking this trip is still a safe option.

Belzer expresses her fear of the current conflict ending, but then another new one commencing. She fears that not having the advantage of knowing her way around Israel may lead to possible issues of danger on her trip.


Senior Emma Rosenthal bumped into HBHA juniors, Noa and Sofia Levine, while they were busy traveling on two separate summer 2023 Israel trips (Courtesy of Emma Rosenthal)

Belzer said, “Another concern that I’m definitely having… is the worry that this conflict will be cleared up, but then something else starting while we’re there, and getting stuck there, not know[ing] how to speak the language, [or] what to do.”

While it might be tough to veer away from the negative thoughts of what may occur when taking an Israel trip, there are also so many amazing opportunities that come with a trip like this.

Emma Rosenthal, a senior at HBHA, attended the Ramah Seminar Israel trip this past summer, 2023. Rosenthal expressed that having the ability to visit Israel allowed her to appreciate the country for what it truly is.

“I see Israel as kind of like a second home because of how many people live there that are Jewish,” Rosenthal said, “I just always feel safe when I’m there.”



It is clear that she created a special connection with the land and her Judaism as she spent her time there. Such a strong one, that she voiced she wouldn’t feel scared traveling to Israel even in this current time of conflict.

When asked if Rosenthal might be hesitant about hypothetically taking a similar trip this summer, she said, “Right now, I’m not concerned about going to Israel, or the safety.” She even stated that she would be interested in going on a mission in the near future.

In hopes that the war will conclude speedily, I look forward to experiencing Israel and all its glory, because as Rosenthal said, “The experience you get when you go to Israel is unlike any other.”

This story first appeared in Hyman-Brand Hebrew Academy’s RampageWired on Jan. 7, 2024.

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