Group 5: Israel Pilgrimage/Poland Seminar (2nd Departure)

July 20, 2012

Group 5 started their day 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 and visit the candle factory. Then the group returned to Kibbutz Hannaton to prepare for Shabbat! Shabbat shalom.

July 19, 2012

Group 5 walked around Mount Arbel this morning and quickly went for a pleasant swim in the Kinneret. They had a delicious lunch at Blue beach before returning to the beach for a bit more swim time. Then they had  blast riding donkeys at Kfar Kedem and headed back to their base to have a great BBQ dinner followed by another swim in the pool. In the evening they relaxed and had a nice group program.

July 18, 2012

Group 5 woke up at an early hour of 5am to continue their desert experience with a hike at Machtesh Ramon before sunrise where they davened shacharit and watched the sunrise. Then they had a delicious breakfast and started their drive up to the north. Once they arrived at Kibbutz Hannaton, their base for the next few days, they had some time to relax, go swimming and nap. In the evening, after dinner, they enjoyed participating in a drum circle; they learned how to play the darbookah, while getting to sing and dance!

July 17, 2012

Group 5 left Eilat this morning and headed to Kibbutz Ketura. Once there, they got the opportunity to learn about what it means to be on a kibbutz, took a tour of the area, learned about the various industries and initiatives that were formed on the kibbutz and more! They participated in a mock kibbutz trial game in order to gain a better understanding of how a kibbutz functions: the different dilemmas that arise and how to function as a unit, as a family. Then they had lunch followed by a nice dip in the pool in the kibbutz. In the evening their desert experience began: they cooperated, much like in a kibbutz, in order to make their own dinner, they went on an evening hike and had a pleasant night star gazing program.

July 16, 2012

Today the group had an exciting and fun day in Eilat! They were able to go snorkeling and observe the sea landscape in the Red Sea (which is in fact blue). Then they went to the underwater observatory in the aquarium where they saw sharks, tortoises and an assortment of fish. They had a delicious lunch in the Hallelujah restaurant with group 8, followed by a little time to relax. After, they had a giant birthday celebration for all the summer birthdays filled with games, food and fun. In the evening they went on an awesome disco boat ride with groups 1 and 8 around Eilat!

July 15, 2012

After a fun and relaxing free weekend, group 5 reassembled and headed south for the next few days. Their first stop was the Alpaca Ranch which is the only farm in the world where over 400 exotic alpacas and llamas are raised and where the entire process of growing and spinning their fur can be observed. Then they finished the day by driving to Eilat, the most southern tip of Israel. On the way they stopped at Kibbutz Yotvata, which produces delicious milk products, so the group got to enjoy ice cream on a hot day. In the evening they had dinner and enjoyed a pleasant walk on the tayelet in Eilat.

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!

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