AMOS & CELIA HEILICHER MINNEAPOLIS JEWISH DAY SCHOOL

8th Grade Trip to DC Blog

SUNDAY, MAY 1

We arrived to the airport at 10:30, and we got through security quickly. We had some time to relax at the gate and enjoyed our plane ride. When we landed, we divided into our metro groups and hopped on the metro to our hotel. We arrived to the hotel and got our room assignments, got our keys, and unpacked our baggage. Then we went downstairs for a delicious kosher pizza meal.

Our evening activity was listening to a man named Don Gardner, from the National Coalition for the Homeless, who came to speak with us and share his story. He was very inspiring and his words were very powerful. He was a man who faced homelessness and wants to help people who face homelessness today. His mission is to break down barriers and stereotypes, to advocate for those less fortunate, and more than anything, bring love to the world. We are off to bed and so excited for our next fun day in DC!

Madi, Edison, Sarah, and Jesse


MONDAY, MAY 2

We had a fantastic first FULL day!! First, we had a once in a lifetime experience. We got to go on the Washington National's baseball field and learn about what goes into maintaining an eco-friendly baseball field from a professional turf-master. Afterwards, we walked to the Anacostia River and learned from Jonah Schein, who works at the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). He taught us about why water efficiency is important. Fun fact: most water is wasted in toilets.

Next, we ate a delish lunch at the U.S. Navy Memorial Plaza and got to have some fun just hanging out. Following this, we got to go to Ford's Theater and learned about Lincoln's assassination. Every fact added onto the sparse knowledge we began with. After that, we got some time to ourselves at the National Mall. We saw the Washington Monument and the Capitol from afar. Some chose to check out the Museum of Natural History.

We got to see old documents next. Can you guess where? You got it! At the National Archives. We saw the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and many more documents. By then we were hungry, so we went to Char Bar and had a yummy dinner. While we waited for our final activity of the night, we went to see the White House. We saw protesters for Ukraine and someone singing about Christianity. Our final, and creepiest, activity of the day was a ghost tour. We heard about the many notorious ghosts of our DC... ooooh!!! And then, we went to bed!! What a fun first day!!

Dalia F, Avital, Sydney, Ami

Class at capitol steps


TUESDAY, MAY 3

Our third day was another amazing one. We started off at the Holocaust Museum, eager to learn more about our history. The museum was very well done and powerful. It was very meaningful for us to learn more about where and who we come from. We then left for the Washington Monument for a delicious lunch with a magnificent view.

After lunch we made our way to the Capitol where we saw protestors in front of the supreme court, stressing their rights first hand and advocating for their views on abortion. We then went into the Capitol where we had a fascinating conversation with Dean Phillips' Chief of Staff. We felt very lucky that we were then able to take a tour with Capitol interns, as the building is still mostly closed to visitors. We had the privilege of getting tickets to renowned artist Yayoi Kusama's exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum of Modern Art (that's where the crazy picture of Ms. Poling and Ms. Cytron is taken).

We ended the day eating dinner at the University of Maryland Hillel. We got to speak to two Heilicher alumni about keeping connected to your Jewish roots after your leave Heilicher. They showed us how far they have come after graduating Heilicher, and reminisced about their 8th grade trip to DC. We're on the Metro now, heading home and looking forward to resting for the night to be ready for our brand new adventure tomorrow!

Dahlia C, Solomon, Leah, Benny


WEDNESDAY, MAY 4

Hey friends,

We started off our day with a delicious breakfast of kosher Krispy Kreme donuts in honor of Sydney’s birthday. Happy birthday Sydney!!

After breakfast we headed to the Museum of American History and saw Dorothy’s slippers and a collection of other joys. After that we headed to the African American History and Culture Museum and learned about the highs and lows of the African American experience.

We had a picnic outside of the museum with our Char Bar sandwiches and then made our way to our DC bike tour. When we were waiting to hop on our bikes, we saw a glimpse of international superstar Olivia Rodrigo. We went berserk and took dozens of videos and pictures. We had a fabulous bike tour and when we biked past the Supreme Court we were apparently caught on the news as reporters were filming the protests. As we were headed back to the bike shop, we biked right past Chris Evans' and Scarlett Johansen’s trailers for their new movie being filmed in DC.

Students on bike tour of DC

We walked down to the river and enjoyed delicious ice cream treats. Dinner was at a vegetarian Middle Eastern restaurant called Shouk. We ordered award winning food. A huge shout out to Benny’s mom, Tamar Marmor, for organizing all of our meals.

After dinner we headed to our night-time monument walk and watched the majestic sunset behind the Washington monument. We spent the next two plus hours enjoying the lit up memorials where each student did a presentation about the monument that they had researched in school. Our teachers told us repeatedly how amazing our speeches were. They seemed pretty proud.

We weren’t sure we could walk one more step, but we made it to the bus and then to the metro.

We are finally back at the hotel after an amazing day, and are ready for a good night’s sleep.

Phoenix, Ilan, Avery and Meyer


THURSDAY, MAY 5

It really is hard to believe that we are heading home.

Meeting your children at the airport on Sunday feels like a lifetime ago. This trip has been a dream in the making since November 2021 and we are so happy we made it happen. The kids have amazed us at every step. From their kindness, curiosity and compassion when meeting with Don Gardner on our first evening, to their thoughtful and wise presentations on the memorials and other important sites around DC, we found ourselves learning from them again and again.

We are so proud of who they each are. Our days were full. In fact yesterday we hit our record of 30,000 steps! Whether they were running to catch a bus, being patient with their chaperones who might or might not have put them on the metro going the wrong direction ( Mr. Stair) or kindly encouraging a tired classmate to keep on movin', your children showed us all what it means to be a true friend and mensch.

The DC trip is a way to celebrate the end of our 8th graders' time at Heilicher. It is an opportunity to watch them practice their independence and self advocacy, two important skills Heilicher has helped them to cultivate. From our perspective they represent everything positive that we hoped might come out of the pandemic: resilience, flexibility, perspective, reflection and hope for the future.

The end of our trip coincides with Yom HaZikkaron and Yom HaAtzmaut, the day of remembrance and the day of independence for the State of Israel. Throughout our time in DC, whether at the Holocaust Museum being immersed in our shared history, to learning about the atrocities of American Slavery at the African American Museum and witnessing protests at the Capitol, our students had the opportunity to understand the the power of both remembering, so that we never forgot, as well as how important it is to take time to celebrate our many freedoms.

Thank you for sharing your children with us, and for trusting their education with Heilicher for all these years. We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of this fantastic class at Graduation in a few weeks.

Maia, Davida, Mel, Mike and Morgan

  • DC Trip
  • Experiential Education

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