Weekly Updates – Tel Aviv October 11, 2019
Gmar Chatima Tova
Another special week has passed here on Aardvark Tel Aviv. As you know, we paused our week for Yom Kippur, which was last Tuesday and Wednesday, and we returned to one more day of a normal routine before beginning the special holiday of Sukkot. During this special holiday season, we use the opportunity to allow the students to become acclimated to their internships and academic classes whilst also educating and celebrating the Jewish holiday traditions.
Here is a little about what we did this week:
On Sunday evening our students met with their counselors for an apartment meeting. In the meeting, the Madrichim spoke about the upcoming seminar in Kibbutz Ketura. We will go to the seminar after the second holiday of Sukkot and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
During the night, the student who went on an international trip to Spain returned. They had an amazing trip together full of great experiences and educational opportunities.
Chana Baily Friedman said, “Learning about Gaudi and discovering not only Spanish culture but also Jewish culture in Barcelona and Girona, was truly a special experience. With such a rich history in Spain, it was exciting to see the continued and varied tradition of Jews on our tour of the Jewish quarter in La Rambla. And when Evan had his Bar Mitzvah in one of the oldest synagogues in Spain, it was the perfect way to round off what was a sensational trip.”
On Monday evening, we had an amazing “Siyur Slichot” (a forgiveness tour leading up to “Yom Kippur”) in Neve Tzedek (Tel Aviv’s first Jewish neighborhood) guided by Daniel Yehuda, our Jewish Educator and the director of the Selah program. On the Siyur, Daniel took us through some very historical, religious, and interesting beautiful places while playing us different songs related to Yom Kippur and talking about the meaning of asking and accepting forgiveness and doing “Heshbon Nefesh”. We ended our tour with a “Tashlich” next to the sea.
Tuesday and Wednesday were Yom Kippur. Along with our Madrich on call, our students organized a pre-fast meal in the Moadon. During the fast, most of our students attended different synagogues around the neighborhood and had the opportunity to see for the first time, how a whole country is able to shut down everything in order to dedicate the time to spirituality and forgiveness.
Gaby Suggerman said, “Yom Kippur in Israel was truly a very special moment and my favorite experience thus far! This holiday made me feel so much peace and love, Israel gave me that special moment everyone wishes for in their life and I got that moment on Yom Kippur.”
On Thursday, after the holy holiday of Yom Kippur, we welcomed our students back and heard about their special experiences over the fast. Later that day, some volunteers from the group gathered in the Modaon to make decorations for the Sukkah, and for building our own Sukkah next to the office.
In the evening, we met for our apartment meetings. This time each group had an activity about “being a Mench” (Mench is a word from Yiddish which describes a person with high values). During the activity, the students discussed the different values of a Mench and shared their goals in their process of becoming one.
Every month we will have a ceremony in which we will announce the student of the month, who will be called a Mench. The first ceremony will take place after Sukkot at the seminar in Ketura.
Over the weekend, some students will be joining our Selah Shabbaton in Jerusalem. At the Shabbaton, the student will experience being an Oshpizin and will be hosted by different families for a Shabbat dinner. I’m sure they will have a valuable time there and I will tell you all about it next week’s email.
Next week after Sukkot, we will have an amazing lecture from Gonen Ben Yizhak, a former Shin Bet agent who was the Green Prince’s, a son of a Hamas Leader, operating agent.
The Madrich On-Call for this weekend is Gill.
The Madrich on call for a Sukkot (Sunday-Monday) is Michal.
I wish you Shabbat Shalom and Sukkot Sameach.
Until next week,