Weekly Updates – Tel Aviv March 25, 2016
By now you will have heard about the terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium.
We heard the news during the second day of our tiyul, a few minutes before starting our last hike and just before we lost internet connectivity (there is no internet reception in the desert). During the hike we chatted about it with each other. I heard a large variety of opinions from the students. Some were more emotional and some more rational. I was walking next to a group of students who talked about how frustrating it is and how they want to make the world a better place. We were debating ideas of how to do this and it left me with the hope that some of the world’s next leaders will come from this group as I’m positive that they will be much better than those who came before them.
And now, on a different tone, to your favorite part – this week highlights!
On Sunday the madrichim felt that it was time to share one of the Israel’s secrets with the students. As you all know this is a hot country and we have developed some methods and techniques to help cope with it. One trick is to eat cold watermelon with salty cheese. The taste is amazing and it is so refreshing! The madrichim brought a watermelon to each apartment and during the apartment meetings taught the students this trick, how to do it and when the best time is.
Last week Jared Meyerson talked to his Madrich, Avi, about how good he is at basketball and “how cool it would be to arrange an Aardvark basketball team!” Avi suggested arranging a first game for students who know how to play or would like to learn. So just before the apartment meeting Jared, Avi, and some friends met at the basketball court to play. I’ll keep you up to date and hopefully a full team will materialize soon.
This is just one example of many that can have an impact on the students’ overall experience. Please encourage your child to approach his or her madrich with goals, wishes etc… That is what they are there for.
On Monday morning we left Tel Aviv and headed to the Negev Desert! We started our day in Be’er Sheva, “the capital of the Negev”. In Be’er Sheva we visited the Palmach monument. Our guide explained the importance of the city to Israel and the Negev in particular.
As the day winded down we visited David Ben Gurion’s grave. We learned about the difficult and influential decisions he made during his career, such as declaring Israel’s independence when the chances of winning the 1948 war were grim, firing on the Altalena which contained desperately needed arms for Israel, retiring as Prime Minister in order to pursue his passion of living and building up the Negev, and returning to be Prime Minister when the US-Israeli relationship was in jeopardy of irreversible damage.
After a good dinner and some time to freshen up, the madrichim gathered the students for a night activity. The students were divided into pairs. In order to win each pair needed to finish 6 missions as quickly as possible. Each mission was located at a different station which was operated by one of the counselors. The pair that won was Charles Einstein and Reina Salky and they received a pair of VIP tickets to a movie.
The next day of the Tiyul was mostly hiking. We gave the students 2 options:
– The hard hike which is called “Snapir Katan” (Little Flipper).
– The harder hike which is called “Snapir Gadol” (Big Flipper).
Some of the students were a little bit worried at the beginning but they all were up for the challenge! And guess what? Everyone finished the hike and even had enough energy to play some Frisbee!
On Wednesday Tel Aviv changed her colors for Purim. Everywhere you went there was music, costumes, festivals, stands etc. On the evening of Purim we had an Aardvark Purim Party. All the students came with great costumes – Snow White, Pocahontas, vampires, dogs and some were dressed as each other!
On Thursday the students had some time to relax. The staff organized a Seudat Purim (Purim Feast). Some students remained in their costumes from the day before and everyone was eating and singing Purim songs.
On the Mind & Body Track the students had a music workshop. They met with an interesting person who gave them a talk on how music affects the body and mind. The workshop involved playing and listening to different types of music and rhythms.
On the Entrepreneurship Track the students went to see an incubator for social start-ups. The place is called Topaz. Topaz Leading Social Innovations was founded by a team of Israeli social entrepreneurs as a not-for-profit, non-sectarian, voluntary association. It has the aim of contributing to the growth and sustainability of Israeli society; they formulate and nurture innovative and creative social ventures in a supportive environment. Topaz’s mission is to drive large-scale change by identifying, investing in, connecting and supporting social entrepreneurs and other innovators dedicated to solving some of Israel’s most pressing problems.
That will be all for now.
Happy Purim and Shabbat Shalom!