Group 1: Israel Adventure

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.

Tuesday, July 26th

Group 1’s final day in Israel started at Yad Lekashish, a non-profit based in Jerusalem, that provides employment and social services to over 300 elderly artisans. From there they headed to Ben Yehuda street for some last minute shopping before packing their bags. This evening they had a bittersweet banquet filled with smiles and tears and then loaded the bus to head to the airport.

Monday, July 25th

After spending the previous day learning about the first and second temple periods, today was the day group 1explored “New Jerusalem.” The group visited the promenade and Ramat Rachel and spoke about borders before and after the ’67 war. At ammunition Hill the group heard about the fierce battle that took place during the six-day war and then headed to Mount Herzl. This mountain serves not only as the Israel Defense Forces’ official military cemetery but also as the burial site for prominent Zionists, Israeli politicians and those figures who greatly influenced the development of the state. They stopped at the graves of Herzl, Yoni Netanyahu and Michael Levin among others.

Sunday, July 24th

After a wonderful Shabbat together, filled with joy and ruach, the group began their last week in Israel. They spent the morning at Yad Vashem, Israel’s National Holocaust Museum and had a very moving tour. After lunch they planted trees in Yaar Aminadav and each USYer dedicated their tree to someone special in their lives. After dinner they heard Neil Lazarus give a fascinating lecture on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Friday, July 22nd

This morning the group had a group activity at the Fuchsberg center prepared by their staff and then walked to the Jewish Quarter in the Old City. They ended up at the Kotel, the Western Wall. After lunch the group continued to Ben Yehuda St. and to Mahane Yehuda open market to buy goodies for Shabbat. They headed back to their home in Jerusalem, the Fuchsberg center, to prepare things for their final Shabbat together. They will be spending Shabbat with groups 4, 6 and 8. Tomorrow they will spend the day in Tfilot, resting, learning Pirkei Avot, and hanging out. Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, July 21st

The group started their day learning about Mitzvah work with Danny Siegel. They drove to Rehovot. Half of the group went to learn about the center for Seeing- Eye dogs while the other half learned about animal therapy. After lunch the group came back together to pick onions which will be transported to organizations serving those in need throughout the country. When they got back to Jerusalem they brought Danny their items for donation and continued learning about various mitzvah heroes. They then enjoyed a BBQ with groups 6 and 8, a lecture with Rabbi Paul Freedman and a stand-up comedy show with Joel Chasnoff. After a long day the group went out for a fun and relaxing night out on the town.

Wednesday, July 20th

Today the group began their day at sunrise in the desert. They davened Shacharit separately, each finding their own space among the sand dunes and rocks. Later they learned to navigate their way through the desert. Once they concluded their Desert experience, they drove back to Jerusalem. The kids had some free time to rest and after dinner they all enjoyed playing drama games, which gave them a chance to reflect on their journey in a fun and active way.

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