June 29, 2012

This morning Group 2 headed to the City of David to learn about the First Temple period. The highlight was walking through Hezekayah’s Tunnel, a water aqueduct that brought water to the city during the time of King Hezekayah (700 BCE). Group 2 had a wonderful time splashing in the water! They walked to the Kotel and around the Jewish Quarter before returning to the base to relax and prepare for their first Shabbat together. Shabbat will be spent resting, learning Pirkei Avot and hanging out with one another. Shabbat Shalom!

June 29, 2012

Today group 1 ventured to Tzfat, a mystical city in northern Israel. Among the many people who came from Tzfat are the prominent kabbalists, Isaac Luria and Moshe Kordovero. Besides the kabbalists, Tzfat also attracted numerous other Jewish scholars and spiritualists, including Joseph Caro, the author of the Shulchan Aruch and Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz, composer of the Shabbat hymn Lecha Dodi. The group had a tour of the city and two of the synagogues. They had some free time to walk around while getting some lunch. Then they returned to Hannaton for their first Shabbat together. They’re looking forward to a very spiritual and relaxing time. Shabbat Shalom!

June 29, 2012

Group 8 spent their morning in Terezin, a concentration camp located an hour outside of Prague. This camp, unlike the others, was used as a propaganda tool, or “show camp,” where the Nazis would invite members of the Red Cross into the camp to dispel rumors about the extermination camps. One unique element that came out of this camp is the tremendous amount of art produced by children and adults. There is now a museum with lots of children’s drawings, which the group spent a lot of time viewing. They watched a movie about the camp, and saw the synagogue that existed there (another piece of evidence that this camp was different). The group then returned to Prague to prepare for Shabbat. Tonight they will have their own minyan for Kabbalat Shabbat at the hotel followed by dinner and Oneg. Tomorrow they will join the Rabbi Hoffberg from the Masorti (Conservative) community for services at the High Synagogue. The group is thrilled to be spending their first Shabbat together in Prague. They will sing, learn and relax. Shabbat Shalom!

June 28, 2012

After a wake-up in Syracuse, NY, Bus A drove over to Niagra Falls, where they got some great group shots and saw one of the amazing sites of North America! From upstate New York, they headed over to Cleveland for the day and learned about the history of Rock and Roll at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For lunch, the group had a real treat of Kosher Subway! For much of the group, it was their first time eating Kosher food at Subway, so the excitement was palpable. Two fun evening programs ended their day; The group played Whirlyball, a combination of lacrosse and bumper cars, where they had a wild and crazy time. Following this, they participated in a get-to-know-your-staff program, where they learned all about their amazing staff. Bus A cannot wait to get back on the road tomorrow to head to Chicago, which is where they will be for their first Shabbat together.

June 28, 2012

The group spent their first day of touring around the Kinneret, the sea of Galilee. In the morning, they hiked down the Arbel, a fortress from the Second Temple Period. After lunch, they cooled off from the hot day with a swim in the Kinneret at the Blue Beach. In the afternoon, the group rode donkeys, dressed up in biblical garments and learned about the history of Zipori. They headed back to Hannaton for dinner and an activity prepared for them by the staff.

June 28, 2012

Mission Mitzvah continued their explorations of Washington D.C. today starting with tours of the Smithsonian Museum and continuing at the Holocaust Museum, where the group truly came together and helped one another get through such a difficult experience. Afterward, Mission Mitzvah learned a lot about our own country’s history, with a walking tour of the Lincoln, WWII, Washington, and Jefferson memorials. It was truly eye-opening! Later in the day, they will head to the shul for home hospitality where they are looking forward to a delicious BBQ dinner and participation in a group program to cap off an awesome day!

June 28, 2012

Bus B had a wild and crazy day! They began the day with a new Bus B tradition called “Thankful Things Thursday,” where each member of the group wrote one thing down on an index card for which they are thankful, and then those cards will be read right before Shabbat begins…It is a wonderful program that will allow the Wheelniks to express how grateful they are for their amazing opportunities. After this invigorating start to the day, Bus B stopped at the Mount Olympus Berry Farm in Virginia, where they had an important discussion/reflection about yesterday’s visit to the Holocaust museum. It was amazing to see their mature reflections and the way in which they comforted one another in a difficult situation. Following this, Bus B picked blueberries! Such a great time was had, the weather was perfect, and many fresh fruits were eaten. The Wheelniks were smiling throughout! To cap off the day, the group ended up in Raleigh, NC where they’re having a tasty dinner followed by an awesome pool party at the JCC. It’s been an amazing couple days so far, evidenced by the beautiful friendships  that have already formed and Bus B cannot wait for more.

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