Thursday, March 16, 2017

An amazing day!

This morning, we had the opportunity to attend a Bat Mitzvah ceremony at the egalitarian section of the Western wall. This space is fairly new, about three years old, and there are many people who feel it shouldn't exist. Nevertheless, it felt amazing to be able to celebrate a Bat Mitzvah at the Western wall. This is something not that many people have done, and something that many people didn't think would ever happen. After the service we learned some more of the Western wall's history, before going to the Kotel for a second and final time this trip. We were able to write notes to put into the wall. This was a very meaningful experience because when we went to the wall on the first day, we didn't know much about it so we couldn't fully understand its significance. But after a few days and a lot of history lessons, I felt more connected to the wall because I could truly understand why it is considered to be the holiest place for Jews. Overall, it was a morning full of reflecting on the past, while moving forward into the future.

-Celia Hoaken

Today we traveled to Modi'in to meet the teens that we will be spending the next few days with. We arrived at a nature reserve near the city of Modi'in and took part in many fun activities that helped us build our relationships. These activities included archery and balancing on a wooden beam. It was great to meet the teens and we look forward to hanging out with them over the next few days!

-Aidan Lander


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

We dig Israel!

Today after lunch we had the opportunity to experience a live Archeological dig. In the first cave we found a lot of pottery made 2,300 years ago. It was very cool to be the first people to touch the object for the first time on 2,300 years. In the next cave we were able to climb, duck, crawl , and walk threw a narrow, long cave lit up by candles. In the last cave, we got to see one that produced olive oil 2,200 years ago. It was very interesting to take part in this experience. Once in a lifetime!!!!

-Noah Tolkin


Yad Vashem

When we learn about the Holocaust, we are usually learning about the history of it, the dates and places of important events. Today at y'ad vashem we had the opportunity to learn about memory, and were able to learn about individual stories. 6 million people were brutally murdered in the holocaust. That is six million names, who had families, lives, jobs, and futures that were taken away from them. This morning, we were able to break down that number, and try to understand the horrors that Jews experienced. After our tour through the museum, we were lucky enough to hear from Edith, a holocaust survivor and member of our temple congregation. Edith shared her story with us, and gave us her words of wisdom. She reminded us that life is precious and should always be cherished. We all left y'ad vashem thinking about the past, but also how we are going to contribute to a better future.
-Thea Hoaken


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bamidbar - In the Desert

This morning, after talking to Naomi Efrat, the student Rabbbi and coordinator of  Ramot Shalom, Temple Sinai headed down to the Bedouin Israeli village, Abu T'lul. Our group and bunch of the Bedouin teenagers gathered in a circle to learn everyone's name. After about 10 minutes, we headed down to the kindergarten area to play. We started to talk to the kindergartens while the bedouin teenagers helped translate the languages a bit. After helping the little kids planting flowers, we started to dance. I went in middle of circle with some kids and had a great time teaching them some Canadian dance moves, such as dabbing. Everyone had fun dancing for a while and sharing the difference in cultures. We then experienced some awesome food that tasted pretty good. 
-Josh Tolkin

This morning was a very unique experience. It was like nothing I've ever done before, however, I know I won't forget it. Being able to spend time with kids our own age and younger was amazing. It was so cool to be able to see and talk about a life style that is the complete opposite from ours. The community was so welcoming, I am so grateful I got this experienc e.
- Izzy Wise


Our camel ride was amazing! We stared by getting onto the camels and they kept telling us to lean back as they got up... we realized why as  soon as they did. We went on a 30 minute trail ride though the desert and then had a meal after that consisted of pita, couscous, beef, vegetables and great juice! It tasted so good! 
-Talia Kendall


Monday, March 13, 2017

Pictures from today

A view of Jerusalem from Mount Scopus

 Before our hike down Masada!

Masada and the Dead Sea

Today we went to Masada. We took a cable cart up to the top of the rock. When we got up there the first thing that hit us was the very strong wind. As we were pushing through the wind we stopped at a place called the mikvah. We learned about the mikvah and how it was a ritual bath that was over 2000 years old. There were some parts of Masada that were there since it was originally built and some parts that people recently rebuilt. During this whole time we learned about Israel and the history of Masada and why it is important. After we finished learning about Masada, we ended up having to walk back down as the cable car was not in service. All in all, I value the education I learned today.
            -Zachery Szweras

Today we headed down over 300 feet below sea level to go float in the Dead Sea. Most of the group has never been in here. It was funny to see there faces when they magically started to float. After a while of floating and messing around, we decided to cover our full bodies in mud. Some of us couldn't handle the stinging of the mud and the seawater so we quickly went to wash off. After a bit, everyone felt their skin, surprised to see how smooth the dead sea made it. We goofed around after e Sea.  We played some games and just had fun. I would definitely go back to the Dead Sea. It was well worth it!
             -Noah Tolkin