Weekly Updates – Jerusalem January 11, 2020
Dear Aardvark Jerusalem Families,
It has been an amazing week!
We have had a great time meeting your children and I am excited to tell you about all of the highlights from the past week. Here we go:
As you know, the students arrived throughout Wednesday and started to get to know one another and the staff and to settle into their apartments. For lunch, we went across the road to a local falafel shop called Shalom Falafel. Later on, we had our first activity. Each madrich together with his or her apartment members had the chance to have a session that included icebreaking activities and the chance to get to know each other better.
Afterwards, all of the students headed to Greg, a café and restaurant up the road from the apartments at Cinema City, and enjoyed their first dinner together as a family!
On Thursday, we began the day with breakfast together and then split up into apartments to have an activity on how to budget as an apartment and learn how to live together as roommates. The Madrichim took the students on a tour of the neighborhood, showing them all the essential places, such as where to do their laundry, where to shop and the local hairdresser. The last stop was Machane Yehuda Market (the Shuk) which is just a 5-minute walk from the apartments, where the students were able to buy groceries and ingredients to cook their first meal together.
Later that day, we went into the City Center to purchase bus passes and to have a tour of Mahaneh Yehudah Shuk, using a very cool App called BiteMojo, where we had a taste of Israeli culture and food. We returned to the apartments and cooked dinner together, and enjoyed their first night out in town.
On Friday morning, we had an activity that focused on the way in which we often fail to stop and think about our daily routines and how busy we are until Shabbat begins. Then splitting into apartments, we spoke about the atmosphere we would like during Shabbat in our surroundings. We were then given free time to check out the Shuk on Friday and cook for our potluck Shabbat lunch.
On Friday night, we all went to the Kotel (Western Wall) and for some of us it was our first time seeing the holy site. We danced and sang in front of the famous wall, and even went and placed notes inside and had the chance to pray.
We had an amazing dinner filled with song and lots of laughter, and an inspirational talk from our campus Rabbi, Rabbi Josh. He spoke to us about taking advantage of this moment and this year, and reminded us to enjoy every step and challenge that we will experience in the City of Gold. We walked back to the apartments and had a lovely stroll with the Jerusalem breeze cooling us down; at the same time, we had the opportunity to get to know one other even better!
On Shabbat morning, some of the students went to the Great Synagogue for services, and then we had a delicious potluck lunch that the students had cooked themselves(!!!!!). After a Shabbat rest in the afternoon, we gave the students the choice of three activities – yoga with our amazing teacher Ayo, Parsha of the Week with Rabbi Josh, or a graffiti tour and tour of the neighborhood!
As Shabbat came to an end, we had a Seudat Shlishit (third meal) and a musical Havdalah in the park next to our apartment building.
What an INCREDIBLE first week!! Next week is looking even better with a two day trip to the Negev, and the beginning of Internships/Volunteering and Classes!
All the best,