Group 4: Israel Pilgrimage/Poland Seminar (1st Departure)

July 13, 2012

Yesterday, the group had a great time hanging out with the other USYers at the USY event. Today the USYers left for Free Weekend. Some went to relatives and others stayed on base, but all were excited for time to sleep and get refreshed for the week ahead. Shabbat Shalom!

July 12, 2012

This morning group 4 went to the Latrun tank museum and enjoyed seeing and climbing on some of the tanks used in Israel’s wars.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.

July 11, 2012

Group 4 spent the morning in the Carmel; they went to an overlook in the Baha’i Gardens and saw a beautiful view of Haifa. This was followed by lunch at the Usafia Druze Village where they were hosted to a kosher and delicious Druze meal, which is one of the food highlights of the summer. They learned more about the Druze religion and the unique rules in the small community. They also enjoyed a unique experience walking through the Druze shuk. After, they made their way towards Jerusalem to enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner on base and do some final Ha’event practice before the big day tomorrow!

July 10, 2012

Group 4 went to a memorial dedicated to a helicopter crash on the border of Lebanon. Then they enjoyed a pleasant and fun water hike in Nachal Snir followed by a pizza lunch and an awesome time kayaking in the Jordan River! They returned to their base to enjoy a fun BBQ and pool party. In the evening the group had an “army night” where they learned about the tactics of the Israel Defense Forces.

July 9, 2012

The group headed to the Golan Heights this morning where they had a wonderful water hike at the beautiful canyon of the Jilabun. Then they went to Mitzpe Gadot and had an opportunity view of the valley. After, they went to Kibbutz El Rom to visit the “Oz 77” monument on the very battlefield where tanks clashed in 1973. There they saw a short film about the heroic Oz 77 Tank Brigade which fought against overwhelming odds to successfully defend the Golan during the Yom Kippur War. After they had a delicious pizza lunch, they got to go cherry picking and try the great fruits! The group headed to a Har Bental – a mountain overlooking Syria. There they learned about the importance of the Golan Heights for Israel and discussed the significance of the Yom Kippur War. After, they went to Kibbutz Neot Mordechai where they had the opportunity to try on and purchase sandals at the famous Naot factory. For dinner the group went to Tveria and enjoyed free time and some shopping. In the evening they practiced for Haevent and played a game of basketball of staff versus kids!

July 8, 2012

Group 4 enjoyed a spiritual Shabbat; they davened with the members of the kibbutz Hannaton all throughout Shabbat. They also enjoyed learning how to play the darbookas and participated in a drum circle and dancing last night after Shabbat. They started their new week in the mystical city of Tzfat. 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 and enjoyed some free time to walk around, visit the candle factory and the shuk. Then they headed to Rosh Hanikra where they walked through beautiful grottos that were formed by water hitting the rocks for hundreds of years. In the evening, they returned to the kibbutz to have dinner, prepare for Ha’event and enjoy some free time.

July 7, 2012

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