Shalom Parents and Students, and Happy Hanukkah!
This week was extremely busy, with holiday celebrations and a wonderful Shabbaton in Peki’in, a Druze village in the north of Israel. But first – Hanukkah! Our students never miss a chance for a party, and what amazing Hanukkah parties we’ve had this week! Especially when they include latkes and sufganiyot, if you ask us! 😉 Our Jerusalem community enjoyed a super-fun Hanukkah party, with games and, sufganiyot-making and of course, lighting the third candle! And did we mention they had latkes too? They sure looked delicious!
But don’t you worry about our Tel Aviv communities, as they have been touring the city during the first days and nights of Hanukkah, all the way down to Jaffa! They had Hanukkah meals (and you know what that means? More sufganiyot!) and also lit candles. Want to see how the rest of their week looked? Scroll down >>
On Tuesday tiyul, our Florentin community traveled to Jerusalem, where they started in Har Ha’Tzofim observatory, and continued to the Old City’s walls. They learned about the different quarters and people living in the city, and talked a little bit about the history of the area. Later, they visited the Western Wall, the most sacred place in Judaism, and had an emotional, name & meaning ceremony. In the end, they entered Shuk Machne Yehuda, because how can you finish a tour in Jerusalem without trying the delicious food this city has to offer?!
Our Levontin students went on a night tour in Bnei Brak, and learned about the Ultra-Orthodox community there. Julian Frucht wrote about his experience: “My experience in Bnei Brak, learning about the orthodox community in that city, was very interesting. We have been to religious areas of the country on other tiyuls, but this one in particular was very unique. Our tour took place during the third night of Hanukkah, and it was fascinating walking around the city and seeing menorahs through many people’s windows, especially in the large yeshiva (which our tour guide called “the Oxford of Yeshivas”). We walked by, where you could see the menorahs through every window in the building. Something else I learned was that the average age of marriage in the city is 18 for women and 23 for men, which I found very surprising.”
On Tuesday, Jerusalem students visited Yad Vashem, the national memorial museum commemorating the Holocaust. This enormous, powerful museum was designed in a chronological manner, allowing visitors to understand how Jewish life in Europe looked before the Holocaust and how, in many communities, it ended. Entire communities, cities, Shtetels were extinct, many of them without a sole survivor. Alex Sandler shared his thoughts from that day: “As Jews today we don’t truly appreciate how fortunate we are. We exist in a world where there exists a safe haven for us, there are people ready to defend us and support us. It is our responsibility as Jews to remember and to educate on the horrific tragedies that occur when we don’t have that. Yad Vashem should be visited by every Jew at least once, but ideally much more. A picturesque compound where time seems to stand still, that directly contradicts the horrors it seeks to memorialize and educate. Whether it was through the learning center that allowed us to explore the major philosophical questions surrounding the Holocaust and antisemitism, or through the Children’s Memorial that helped us process the loss of an entire generation of Jewish youth, of academics, philosophers, artists, and heroes, this was an experience that left us feeling both devastated and assured, with a new purpose to carry forward the lessons we have learned and make ‘Never Again’ a reality.”
The group later went to Har Hertzl, where soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for Israel are buried. Jake Perdue shared with us his impressions: “Working at the Lone Soldier Center and seeing all the soldiers who unfortunately passed was a very emotional experience for me. Especially seeing Michael Levin’s grave! I am just so grateful that there are soldiers that sacrifice their life for this beautiful country.”
Jerusalem community learning about the Holocaust at Yad Vashem
- TLV Florentin
- TLV Levontin