Our Stories

JPDS-NC Sixth Graders Take Manhattan!

June 4, 2015 by Fani Bettmann (Faculty and Staff)

Early on the morning of May 26, the sixth graders boarded the bus and embarked on our capstone trip to New York City. Our first stop was the Tenement Museum, where Judaic Studies class discussions of the Jewish immigrant experience came to life as we toured a tenement apartment that a host of immigrant families occupied at the turn of last century and the early part of the 1900s. After a vegan lunch in Chinatown, we attended a Broadway workshop led by professional songwriters and actors who taught the sixth graders the lyrics and choreography for Matilda’s “Revolting Children.” That evening, we trekked to Broadway and saw Matilda, walking to Times Square afterwards and taking in the sights, lights, and sounds.

On Wednesday morning our first stop was the Spanish-Portuguese synagogue, where we held Tefillah and made connections to the Sephardic traditions studied in Judaic Studies. The protagonist of our final novel, Freak the Mighty, is a medieval aficionado, so we journeyed to The Cloisters, which Beri Gershwind described as “an awesome experience because it was cool to see how people lived in medieval times.” At midday we enjoyed a picnic in Central Park before our stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We had an impromptu stop at the Ancient Playground (and its water feature), and then toured parts of the ancient civilizations exhibits at the Met, which gave Noa Schleifer “a new perspective on what we learned this year” in Social Studies about ancient Rome, Greece, China, and India. That evening, sixth graders took a sunset ferry to Hoboken where they ran joyously through the rain. We returned to the hotel and celebrated Arava Rose’s birthday with Twizzlers in the lobby before retiring for the evening.

On Thursday morning, after bagels at the hotel, we braved the subway to Brooklyn. Our first stop was the Hannah Senesh Community Day School, where we joined their seventh and eighth graders for Tefillah. After another impromptu playground stop in Carroll Gardens, we met our tour guide in Williamsburg for a tour of the Satmar Hassidic neighborhood, which Shirah Lister described as a highlight because she enjoyed “seeing the people and learning about Hassidic culture.” After a traditional lunch of cold cut sandwiches and kugel, students descended on tourist shops in Chinatown to buy souvenirs before boarding the bus home. Ariel Gershman summed up the trip as follows: “It was a fun experience being in a different city for multiple days with our class!”