In the spring in 2017, 15 high school students from Beth Emet traveled to the border of Texas and Mexico to deepen their understanding of Jewish migration, diaspora, assimilation and connect our history to immigration issues today. Students flew to El Paso, Texas on March 27, 2017 and spent six days at Cristo Rey Lutheran Church, an organization that runs the Border Immersion Experience. The trip focused on bridge-building, transformative learning, and action. Along with trained educators and clergy, teens examined life in the borderlands, reflected on themes of race, culture, migration and heard testimony from individuals in the migrant community. The group visited landmarks related to migration, Federal Immigration Court, presentations form the Department of Homeland Security, and visited border checkpoints. Reflection sessions, prayer, and study of Jewish texts were incorporated throughout the trip, to help students process what they experience, individually and collectively. We also plan to connect with Jewish community in El Paso during our stay.
In our studies preparing for the trip, students made strong connections between our Jewish history of migration from the time of Abraham to many of the challenges we are seeing today. Given our current political climate, these conversations and our journey to the borderlands are more urgent than ever before. Though silent auctions, and other fundraising events, we worked together to ensure that every student who wanted to participate on this unforgettable journey were be able to do so.
The actual cost per student for the trip, including flight, is $1,200, though we are asking participating families to pay $700 of that for their child. We're also asking participating families who are able to pay over and above the $700 to do so, and in that way help ensure that everyone who wants to go on the trip will be able to do so.