Wednesday, June 29th

Bus H woke up bright and early Wednesday and set off on their six and a half week journey. The day began with the ride to Kentucky. Once in Kentucky they visited the Louisville Slugger factory where they learned about the production of baseball bats, the history of the company and some of baseball’s legendary players. Later, the wheelniks had the chance to sign up for “va’adot,” committees which will be responsible for different aspects of the summer. After dinner, Bus H broke into smaller groups and played some more bonding games.

Wednesday, June 29th

Today, Bus D finished up their time in Minnesota. In the morning they visited the largest mall in the United States, the Mall of America, where they went shopping and enjoyed the entertainment available inside. Next, they stopped at the SPAM Museum in Austin, MN. At the museum they learned about the role SPAM played in WWII and also got to view the 4,752 cans of SPAM that are present inside the museum. Later, they continued their ride to Sioux Falls. In Sioux Falls, they donated some of their extra food at a food pantry, had an evening program and then went to bed early ahead of an early wake up tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 29th

This morning Bus C left Pittsburg and stopped at a nearby outlook which provided some great views of the city. On their bus ride, the wheelniks wrote thank you cards to their hosts. When they arrived in Cleveland, the group visited the world’s largest rubber stamp. Later, Bus C met in their va’adot (committees). Bus C then stopped by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Inside they saw relics from Rock and Roll’s greats including Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen. After rocking out to some classic tunes, the group went out to play a game of whirlyball. Whirlyball, a Wheels favorite, is a game that combines bumper cars, lacrosse, and basketball. The game was an awesome end to a great day.

Wednesday, June 29th

This morning Bus A began the day with shacharit and discussed the significance of the Mah Tovu prayer. The group’s first stop was at the Gettysburg Civil War museum where they learned about the war and saw a wax-figure reenactment. The wheelniks then ate lunch in a park and continued on to Baltimore. At the harbor, the wheelniks had plenty of time to check out the shops and pick up some souvenirs. The group then visited a local synagogue where they had a program about Yemenite Jewery. Bus A ate some delicious Yemenite food, talked about the Yemenite jewish community and learned some traditional Yemenite dances.

Wednesday, June 29th

The group landed safely in Berlin, met their Israeli staff, Shlomo, their tour guide and Jules Gutin, the director of USY, who will be joining the group for Berlin and Prague. Their first stop was the Reichstag and New Government Quarter. They walked through the famous Brandenburg gate. The group also had an opportunity to take photos at checkpoint Charlie. They then walked along the remains of the Berlin wall and topography of terror exhibit. After a long day of touring, Group 8 checked into the hotel and had time to settle into their rooms. Later, Group 8 went out for some free time in the city of Berlin and out to restaurant for dinner. The group is very excited to start their amazing summer.

 

Wednesday, June 29th

After landing safely on time in Milan, Group 7 met their Israeli madricha, Ayelet, and Yisrael, their tour guide. The group began their trip by driving to Venice. On the way, they stopped for lunch. They arrived in Venice and took a boat through the central canal to San Marko plaza. They walked through the beautiful allies of Venice looking at the unique architecture of the buildings. They then ate dinner at the kosher restaurant GamGam. They walked back to the bus and headed to the hotel in Marghera for an orientation and a good night sleep.

 

Wednesday, June 29th

The group left Warsaw this morning and drove to Lublin, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community. They visited Yeshivat Chochmei Lublin, which was recently renovated. They davend shacharit and learned in havruta groups, studying rabbinic texts, much like students of the yeshiva did at the beginning of the twentieth century. It was in this yeshiva where Rabbi Shapira invented the system of learning a page of Talmud a day, Daf Yomi, a system still used today. The group played some ice- breaker games to get to know more about each other.  Group 6 then headed to Majdanek Concentration Camp, just outside the city of Lublin. One of the most interesting and shocking parts of the camp is that much of it is still intact, thereby giving the group a full image of what it looked like when it was operational. The group was extremely moved. They spent some time reflecting and then led a memorial ceremony were they sang Hatikva and held up the Israeli flags with a lot of pride. The group headed back to the hotel for a quiet evening, dinner, subgroups and free time after a long and emotional day.

 

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