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Israel & Europe
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Group 4: Israel Pilgrimage/Poland Seminar (1st Departure)
July 20, 2012
Group 4 spent their morning relaxing and swimming at the beach in Ashdod before returning to Jerusalem. Some went to Shuk Machane Yehuda to buy treats and good before preparing for their final Shabbat together! Shabbat shalom.
July 19, 2012
Group 4 started their day at the Herzl museum, located on Mount Herzl. They learned about Herzl and his dreams. Then they walked around Mount Herzl, which serves not only as the Israel Defense Forces’ official military cemetery but also as the burial site for prominent Zionists, Israeli politicians and figures who have greatly influenced the development of the state. They stopped at the graves of Herzl, Yoni Netanyahu and Michael Levin. In addition, they heard from someone’s great aunt about her son who was killed in the IDF. Then the group went to Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. In the evening, they returned to base to enjoy a BBQ dinner and headed to the Lapid event. This event takes place in Modiin, organized by the Jewish Agency. Together with 1500 youth from Israel and the Jewish communities around the world, they celebrated the 152nd anniversary of Herzl and enjoyed a performance by various Israeli musicians and dancers such as Tararam. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
July 18, 2012
Today, the group learned about “New Jerusalem,” which traces the line that was Israel’s border with Jordan before 1967. They first went to the Armon Hanatziv promenade which overlooks most of Jerusalem and offers a beautiful view of the city and from there they saw a checkpoint on Derech Bet Lechem. They then visited Ammunition Hill, walking through the trenches that used to be part of a Jordanian bunker that was the center of battle in 1967. In the afternoon they went to the Knesset and had the opportunity to listen to a former USYer, who works for a politician in the Knesset, talk about Israeli politics. In the evening the group enjoyed a humorous evening full of drama games, which gave them a chance to reflect on their journey in a fun and active way.
July 17, 2012
The group spent their day learning about Mitzvah and Tikun Olam work with mitzvah hero, Danny Siegel. They began their day at Leket, an organization that donates food to families and food banks around Israel. Everyone had the opportunity to pick vegetables which will be transported to organizations serving those in need. After having lunch, they went to learn about the center for seeing-eye dogs. Then they returned to base learning from Danny Siegel about other mitzvah heroes as well as other volunteer opportunities in their home communities. In the evening, following dinner, the group watched “A hero in Heaven,”a short film documentary has been produced to honor the memory of Michael Levin (z”l); Michael Levin was a lone Israeli soldier who emigrated from the United States and was killed in combat in 2006. The group then had a chance to discuss the film.
July 16, 2012
Group 4 headed to the Olympic museum this morning where they were joined by an Israeli professional basketball player, Carmel Bouchman. He spoke to the group about being both Jewish and an athlete. Then they went to Dialogue in the Dark; they were led by an experienced tour guide who was blind, through darkness. Their next stop was base where they rested for a bit and went to the supermarket. After dinner they were joined by Neil Lazarus who talked to everyone about the Arab-Israeli conflict.
July 15, 2012
After a fun and relaxing free weekend, group 4 reassembled and headed west for the day. Their first stop was Kikar Rabin, the site of Yitzchak Rabin’s final hours, as he went to a peace rally and was then assassinated. After, they went to the new Rabin museum to learn about Yitzhak Rabin’s life. Then they had lunch and headed to Independence Hall, where David Ben Gurion declared Israel an independent country. In the afternoon they visited Yaffo, toured around and had some free time to shop. After dinner, they went to the beach and enjoyed a friendly sand castle competition following maariv overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.