DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Sky Richardson, 16, says he will never forget his life-changing visit to Israel. “It was the greatest experience of my life,” he said.
The Addison boy and six other teens from Temple Shalom in Dallas spent more than a month touring in Israel as part of a national Jewish youth group.
On July 7, one week after they arrived, Richardson says a group was in a kibbutz outside Jerusalem when sirens started to wail.
“So my friend and I jump out and start sprinting. We didn’t know where to go. As we’re running, I screamed to my friend, go find shelter, go find shelter.”
Sky recorded the chaos on his cell phone as they followed a group of young children and ran into a bomb shelter. “These kids were screaming and crying. My friend Nicole was holding four kids under her arms, telling them to be quiet.”
It turns out he and his friend were the oldest kids there. So he says they had to push aside their own fear and step up. “There was no one taking care of them. They’re little kids, and you had to take care of them.”
Sky’s father, Bradley, says he can’t help but be impressed with his son. “When I hear how he handled this, obviously, I was incredibly proud.”
The North Texas dad said he had some sleepless nights worrying about his son, but also felt confident in the program Sky traveled with. “I never felt I needed to get him on a plane. But stories like he just shared, he didn’t share with me right then. He shared that with me when he got home.”
On July 12, Sky says he was in Haifa when again, the wail of the sirens suddenly sounded. He remembered that he ran into a bomb shelter, but soon realized it was a false alarm.
Even so, Sky says he never once wanted to cut short his trip and come home. “In majority, it was super safe. It was fun. It was everything I imagined it to be and more. When I talk about Israel now, I don’t say they or it. I say we because I feel I’ve grown a connection to Israel.”
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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