Group 6: Israel Pilgrimage/Poland Seminar (2nd Departure)

Sunday, July 31st

The group had a lovely Shabbat together and as soon as they finished a spirited Havdalah, they packed and changed for their final group banquet. During the banquet, they gave out awards, received special gifts from the staff and the group gave presents to the staff as well. They received their group t-shirts and group photo and then spent their last few hours together sharing memories and reflecting on their awesome journey together. They then loaded the buses and left for the airport. We know that Group 6 had an amazing summer and we look forward to seeing them in Israel again soon!

Friday, July 29th

Today the group split up into groups and walked around Jerusalem. They walked to the Jewish Quarter in the Old City and headed for a final visit at the Kotel, the Western Wall. On the walk back they went through the Mamila mall for some last minute shopping and then off to Ben Yehuda St. and Mahane Yehuda, the open market, to buy goodies for Shabbat. When they got back to the Fuchsberg center, they had time to prepare for their final Shabbat in Israel which will be spent together with groups 2, 3, and 7.

Thursday, July 28th

The group spent their day learning about Mitzvah and Tikun Olam work with Danny Siegel. They drove to Hod Hasharon were they volunteered at Click, an organization which strives to improve the quality of life for the aged. They participated in an art workshop side by side with the elderly and donated the art products to the institution. Later they heard about the woman who founded the organization supporting the Righteous Gentiles living in Israel. They ended the day in Jerusalem learning from Danny Siegel about other “mitzvah heroes” as well as volunteer opportunities in their home communities. After dinner they heard Neil Lazarus give a fascinating lecture on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Wednesday, July 27th

The group started their day at Yad Lekashish, a non-profit based in Jerusalem that provides employment and social services to over 300 elderly artisans. They then planted trees in Yaar Aminadav and each USYer dedicated their tree to someone special in their lives. Later, Group 6 headed to Yad Vashem, Israel’s National Holocaust Museum where they had a very moving tour. Next, the USYers visited Mount Herzl. This mountain serves not only 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.  After dinner they played drama games, which gave them a chance to reflect on their journey in a fun and active way.

Tuesday, July 26th

This morning the group woke up super early and climbed to the top of Masada to watch a beautiful sunrise and daven Shacharit at the remains of one of the world’s most ancient synagogues- 2000 years old. They had a tour of the fortress guided by their Israeli counselors then took the cable car down. They stopped at the AHAVA factory for some shopping time and then drove down to the lowest spot on earth – the dead sea, where they enjoyed floating in the water and putting on the famous dead sea mud. They returned to Jerusalem to their base on Agron St. where they will be staying until their departure.

Monday, July 25th

Group 6 spent the morning in Holon visiting the “Dialogue in the dark” Museum – a unique exhibit in which blind guides led them in small groups through different settings in absolute darkness. The group learned how to interact without sight by using their other senses. Next on the itinerary was the Ayalon Institute – an underground bullet factory used by the “haganah,” located on Kibbutz Hill in Rehovot and 25 feet underground. Not minding the heat, the group headed South to Roded for a true Israeli experience of riding camels and being hosted in a Bedouin tent, including a feast and the traditional sour coffee and very sweet tea. They then spent the night in the tent, getting ready for an early wakeup to climb Masada tomorrow.

Sunday, July 24th

After a wonderful and relaxing Shabbat together, the group spent the day in Tel Aviv. They visited the Independence Hall, where David Ben Gurion declared Israel an independent country. From there they went to Kikar Rabin, the site of Yitzchak Rabin’s final hours, where he spoke at a peace rally and was then assassinated. The group learned about this famous leader and sang the song “Shir La’shalom,” a song about peace. This afternoon they visited Old Jaffa, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, and had some time to shop in the market. Next they visited the Olympic museum. The museum boasts high-tech imaging and illustrations, audio-visual presentations, holograms, interactive screens, and hands-on trials. The USYers had a chance to learn not only about some of the greater moments in Olympic history but the Israeli achievements as well. This evening they walked along the promenade in Tel Aviv.

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