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 with the arrival of the students and they began to settle into 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, we started the day with breakfast together and then split up into apartments for an activity on how to budget as an apartment followed by a tour of the neighborhood, showing the students all the places they needed to be familiar with in the area. The last stop was the local supermarket where we had our first shopping trip. Later that day we when into the middle of town to get bus passes and to have a tour of the Mahaneh Yehudah Shuk where they had a taste of Israeli culture and food. When we got back, each apartment had a cooking session with their madrich, we taught them how to make a shakshukah, which is an Israeli dish and then we ate together, for some it was their first time tasting the dish
Joining the Tel Aviv group on Wednesday, we drove up north to the Golan Heights for our first overnight Tiyul (hiking trip.) 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 off. One of the highlights of the hike was the slides that connected portions of the stream. The next site we went to was an amazing viewpoint called Mitzpe Ofir where we took advantage of the stunning panorama to hold our official opening ceremony. In addition to Debbie sharing her thoughts with the students, Liat Dorani together with Avi read the words to a song “Towards the Light” (which is more commonly known as “This Path Starts Here”) and we then listened to the song (you can hear it by clicking here.) After checking into our guesthouse for the evening, we had a safety and security talk with Debbie and a health session with Shay-El. After a lovely dinner together, we had exciting activity on the army and the British Mandate that was run by our madrichim.
The next day, Thursday, we went to the “Gadot” viewpoint. There we learned about the history of the Golan Heights with particular reference to the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War. We understood what a privilege it is to have this amazing area as part of the country of Israel and how important strategically the area is. Afterwards we hiked the “Jilaboon” river to see the waterfall. Even though it was hot, our troopers did the hike with enthusiasm and helped each other through the tough parts.
Afterwards we chilled at the Kineret, had some time to swim and relax, and then we came back home to Jerusalem.
On Friday night, we 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 down and placed notes inside it and had a chance to pray.
After an amazing dinner filled with song and laughter, we returned to the apartments on foot and had a lovely walk with the Jerusalem breeze cooling us down, as we all got to know each other even better.
Shabbat morning we joined our lovely community at the local old age home for services and a Kiddush (food after the service). Our amazing Rabbi Marc introduced our students to the community and even helped us find families to host us over the course of the year for Shabbat meals.
After a delicious potluck lunch that the students cooked themselves (!!!!!), we offered the students the choice of three sessions: meditation, a basketball game, or a historical walking tour of the neighborhood.
Following that, we had seudat shlishit (Shabbat’s third meal) and a musical Havdalah.
One last note – Please be in touch directly with your child’s madrich/a. Please do not call the inquiry line. The recruiting staff is not up to date with the day-to-day welfare of your child, but their madrich/a is and are therefore better equipped to answer your questions.
What an INCREDIBLE week!! Next week is looking even better!!!
Below this mail is the schedule for next week.