Group 8: Eastern Europe/Israel Pilgrimage
July 12, 2012
This morning group 8 went to Yad Lekhashish, a non-profit based in Jerusalem that provides employment and social services to over 300 elderly artisans. From there they headed to the event with Ramah at Neot Kdumim. They got to meet other Ramah participants, interact and do various activities while enjoying lunch, singing and dancing. After, they drove to the Ben Shemen forest for the annual USY Event! Each year at this event, all USY groups come together for an afternoon of competition, cheers, and fun! They do ropes course activities, learn about Israel through games, and bond as a group, each with their own color t-shirt! After a delicious BBQ dinner each group performed a cheer or dance and enjoyed their time together. They came back to Jerusalem tonight before departing for free weekend tomorrow morning.
Sunday, August 7th
After a wonderful Shabbat together, filled with joy and ruach, 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. This afternoon they visited the Gilad Shalit tent, and then had time to do their last minute shopping on Ben Yehuda. They headed back to the Fuchsberg center to pack and prepare for their final banquet dinner. This evening the group came together to share memories of everything they have done and accomplished on their incredible journey this past summer. They then loaded the bus and left for the airport. We know that Group 8 had an amazing summer and we look forward to seeing them in Israel again soon!
Friday, August 5th
This morning the group davened shaharit at a very special site – The Robinsons Arch, a part of the wall which surrounded the Temple mountain 2000 years ago. They spend time in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City and visited the Kotel, the Western Wall. Later, the group continued to Ben Yehuda and to Mahane Yehuda open market to buy goodies for Shabbat. After lunch they headed back to their home in Jerusalem, the Fuchsberg center, to prepare for their final Shabbat together. They are excited spending their last Shabbat in Jerusalem. Shabbat Shalom!
Thursday, August 4th
Today the group volunteered at Leket Yisrael (an organization that donates food to families and food banks around Israel) where they harvested potatoes to be donated. Next on the schedule was the Latrun tank museum where they enjoyed learning about and climbing on some of the tanks used in the past by the IDF. The group also visited the memorial for the fallen soldiers of the armored corps unit. On the way back to Jerusalem the group stopped at the Harel mall in Mevaseret Tzion, famous for its kosher McDonalds. Upon returning to base they had a presentation with Yossi Garr – the Director of Nativ, USY’s college leadership program in Israel. After dinner they played drama games, which gave them a chance to reflect on their journey this summer in a fun and active way.
Wednesday, August 3rd
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 counselors, then walked down the snake path. Next was one of the most beautiful sites in Israel, the Ein Gedi springs. They hiked through Nachal David and ended at a gorgeous waterfall. The group continued to the lowest spot on earth, the Dead Sea, where they enjoyed floating in the water and putting on the famous Dead Sea mud. Next they stopped at the AHAVA factory for some shopping and returned to Jerusalem to their home base at the Fuchsberg center. They will be staying there until their departure Sunday night. Tonight they enjoyed an I.D.F program prepared by their Israeli staff.
Tuesday, August 2nd
This morning the group spent some time at the Tel Aviv beach front. Later, they visited the children’s Museum in Holon and saw the exhibit “Invitation to silence,” an inter-active exhibition about communication that is directed by deaf guides who use sign language. They had some free time for shopping at Shuk HaCarmel and Nachalat Binyamin art market. They then headed South to “Chavat Hanokdim” for a true Bedouin experience of riding camels and being hosted in a Bedouin tent. The experience included a feast and the traditional sour coffee and very sweet tea. They then spent the night sleeping in the tent and preparing for an early wakeup to climb Masada tomorrow.
Monday, August 1st
This morning the group spent the day in Tel- Aviv. Their first stop was Rabin square, the site of Yitzchak Rabin’s final hours, as he went to a peace rally and was then assassinated. The group learned about his history and had a program about the political climate in Israel during that time. They sang the song “Shir La’shalom,” a song about peace. Later on, they visited the Independence Hall, where David Ben Gurion declared Israel an independent country. They then had some free time to walk around and shop in the Azriele mall. In the afternoon they visited the Olympic Experience Museum. The museum boasts state-of-the-art 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. Tonight they will spend the night in Yaffo.