I really appreciate that all of the panelists are honing in on educational travel as a key factor for creating connections between diverse Jewish communities - but I wonder how similar modalities can be applied in a local context?
If we agree that the immersive experience of tourism allows the learner to understand themselves in relation to an other (real or imagined), could similar local immersive experiences achieve the same results without the expenditure of resources that it takes to send people halfway around the world?
I also know that these sorts of experiences have been examined in depth through the theoretical lenses developed by sociologists of toursim - but I also think that theories of situated learning are relevant. Lave and Wanger's work on Legitimate Peripheral Participation (how "newcomers" learn to be a part of a community of practice through interaction/work with "old timers") and Holland et. al.'s work on Figured Worlds (how people reframe their identity in relation to their social environment) both speak to the learning processes that are going on when learners find themselves in a new or different situation.
Another component I'm thinking about as an addendum to the immersive experience is the post-trip (dare I say, follow up) expectation. In my work, we're hoping to build on the experience back home. The question is how to continue the connection among the cohort and with the communities abroad in a meaningful way?