Dear Parents and Students,
Our first week in Jerusalem was a busy, eventful and exciting one. Here are some highlights:
The week started out on Monday as the students all arrived and began to settle in to their new apartments. They have been enjoying getting to know each other and acclimating to their new environment. We had a lovely welcome dinner and spent the evening playing some icebreaker games.
On Tuesday, the madrichim spent time with the students in their apartments going over how to budget, clean, and cook as an apartment. Working out the dynamics and chores within the apartments is a process that the students will work on for a while since for many this is the first time they are living on their own. The staff provided tools to help them and will continue to be available to assist so that each set of roommates gets along in their apartments. Afterwards, we went for the on a tour in the neighborhood and went grocery shopping for the first time. The staff helped out by explaining how to find the best deals. In the afternoon, after each apartment cooked their first meal together for lunch, we all loaded onto the bus and headed out to get our bus passes and for a tour of the Machane Yehuda Shuk (Market). One of the students commented that holding her bus pass was like holding her freedom! During the Shuk tour, Simon helped the students discover the hidden gems of the shuk, how to bargain, where to find the best fruit, and a few students even tried their hands at baking pitot! after a session about safety and security which was lead by Debbie, the Aardvark Director We finished the day learning to cook a Israeli traditional dish name the Shakshouka.
On Wednesday, we all drove up north to the Golan Heights for our first overnight Tiyul (hiking trip.) Joining the Tel Aviv group . Our first stop was a hike through the waters of the “Nahal HaKibbutzim.” It was hot outside so everyone enjoyed the refreshing dip in the river to cool us down. One of the highlights of this hike were the slides which connected portions of the stream.
The next site we went to was an amazing view point called “mizpa ofir” where we took advantage of the stunning panorama to hold our official opening ceremony. In addition to Debbie ) the Director of Aardvark) sharing her thoughts with the students, Celeste Williams together with Jacob Adler read the words to a song “Towards the Light” which is more commonly known as “This Path Starts Here”.
After checking into our guest house for the evening, we all had dinner and a fun activity which culminated with the presentation of official Aardvark shirts to all the students.
The next day, on Thursday, we woke up early to hike the “Jilaboon” river to see the waterfall. Even though it was hot, our troopers did the hike with enthusiasm and helped each other during the tough parts. Then we went to “Gadot” view point where we had lunch and learned about the history of the Golan Heights particularly as they relate to the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur Wars. We understood what a privilege it is to have this amazing part in the country of Israel and how important strategically this area is to Israel. Afterwards we chilled at the Kineret, having time to swim and relax, and then we came back home to Jerusalem
Aardvark “Winter Break” will start from December 29th to January 7th. If you are thinking of flying your kids back home or someplace else that will be a perfect time for it. During the winter break the students will be able to use and sleep at the apartment and the madrichim will be available for any problem, though there will be no schedule during that time.
Attached to this mail is the schedule for next week.