Over and again throughout the years, I've heard students use that phrase to describe Yom Ha'atzmaut at the MHA. Yesterday certainly didn't disappoint.
Our kids were welcomed to a building which our talented shlichim decked out as a grand tiyul ba'aretz replete with rolling fields, flowing waterfalls, boulders painted with trail markers, and the requisite ibexes. Following a tefilah chagigit students traveled through different classrooms - each set up as a different destination in Israel - where one of the benot sheirut or Torah MiTzion bachurim, assisted by an 8th grade student, helped the children to learn about that place and do a related activity.
Following the road signs posted at the hallway intersections, the elementary school students then headed outside (steering clear of the High School boys who were intensely engaged in pizza-eating contests, wheelbarrow races, and ping-pong ball balancing as part of their Maccabiah Games). On the blacktop they rotated through a Bedouin tent where they made fresh pita, a station where they made Israel themed t-shirts, and a station where one of our IDF bachurim gave them a very gentle introduction to basic training. The morning culminated with a festive Israeli lunch and we were thrilled that so many parents came to join us.
Of course, the highlight of the day was our annual march, for which we were joined this year by students from the Bornblum Solomon Schechter. As always, the march was lively and spirited all the way from our front door to that of Baron Hirsch. Once we arrived, everyone was treated to snacks and the older kids went to hear some divrei Torah and chizuk from Rav Shai Finkelstein while the younger students watched a series of short, Israel-themed videos. After fifteen minutes the groups rejoined each other for one last set of dancing before dismissal.
Have a look at the pictures here and the video below and you'll begin to understand why students fondly call Yom Ha'atzmaut at the MHA the best day of the year.