Chai School Road Trip

by Rabbi Audrey Pollack, October 31, 2022

After several years’ hiatus from our usual teen trip to visit Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, Arliene and I were thrilled to finally board the bus with 11 of our Solel teens and join up with 6 teens from Har Zion, and their rabbi and cantor in late October. Everyone was excited – and surprisingly wide awake – for our 7am departure, and with our trusted coach bus driver, Phyllis, at the wheel (she has driven Solel on our Cincinnati trip for 20 years!) we set off on our weekend adventure. In preparation for the journey to the birthplace of North American Reform Judaism, our Chai School class has been learning about Reform Judaism through both a historical lens and how each of us personally understands what it means to be a Reform Jew today. The highlights of the tour included as always – Shabbat services at Hebrew Union College both Friday evening and on Shabbat morning, meeting HUC students, a tour of the HUC campus, and of the American Jewish Archives, a tour of the Isaac Mayer Wise Plum Street Temple, and a visit to the Freedom Museum.

Chai School Cincinnati 2022

Other highlights – the most important ones – included many long hours on the bus to sleep, eat, chat, and connect with each other, our walk in downtown Cincinnati with the stop at Starbucks for refreshments, eating the best ice cream ever at Graeter’s, yummy dinners at HUC, bus stops for food, bathrooms, and souvenirs, hanging out in the hotel meeting room with new and old friends, and reconnecting as a group after so much time apart.

Our teens are bright, engaged, and acted like the mensches (and the teens) that they are. The level of engagement and insights in our study sessions, and in casual conversations gave me, and should give all of us, hope for the future of our community and our world. And, what we have all lost in the pandemic years, represents a very significant amount of their lifetimes. As a Solel family and as a greater community there is much that we can do to support our young people as we all navigate the new normal together.


Rabbi Audrey S. Pollack

Filed under: Rabbi's Message

« Read more articles