High School Students Embark on Puerto Rico Service Mission
By David Wingens '19
As Hanukkah approaches, select 11th and 12th grade students are preparing to spend their first few days of the holiday on GOA’s annual service mission trip. For the first time, the delegation will be traveling to Puerto Rico to help rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which struck September 2017. The group will be working hands-on with Nechama, a Jewish agency that focuses on disaster response, as well as IsraAID, an Israeli-based humanitarian aid agency that responds to emergency crises.
Aside from their work with these organizations, the group will, among other activities, meet with Puerto Rican teens, visit Puerto Rico’s Holocaust museum and San Juan’s Mayor’s office, and tour Old San Juan as well as the San Juan Bay National Estuary. These experiences will bolster the service opportunity by giving students a connection to the land, its people, and the Puerto Rican Jewish community. The trip is aligned with GOA’s mission-based values of repair of the world (tikkun olam), community (kehillah), and Jewish life and learning (mitzvot and halacha). There is a lot of excitement among those going. Senior Ayala Jones says, “I look forward to a great trip helping others and learning about another culture.”
Junior Nadav Soudry agrees, saying, “This will surely be an invaluable experience.”