Group 8: Eastern Europe/Israel Pilgrimage

August 3, 2012

Group 8 woke up this morning and spent the day going to shuk Machane Yehuda and Ben Yehuda street one final time before packing and preparing for their final Shabbat together. They will pray this evening at Yemin Moshe overlooking the walls of the old city. Tomorrow they will go to different synagogue in the area close to the Fuchsberg center. Motzai shabbat they will have their final banquet dinner and will come together to share memories of everything they have done and accomplished on their incredible journey this past summer. At the end of their night they will load the buses and head to the airport. We know that group 8 had an amazing summer and look forward to returning to Israel again soon!

August 2, 2012

Group 8 started their day at the City of David to learn about the First Temple period. The highlight was walking through Hezekayah’s Tunnel, a water aqueduct that brought water to the city during the time of King Hezekayah (700 BCE). They had a wonderful time splashing in the water! Then they walked to the Old City for some free time filled with food and shopping. In the afternoon they planted trees in the JNF forest. Each USYer dedicated their tree to someone special in their lives. From there, they headed back to base to discussed the opportunities available to everyone during their gap year with USY’s Nativ year long program. They also played some drama games which gave the group a chance to reflect on their summer journey in a fun and active way, followed by the talent show which everyone had the opportunity to participate in!


August 1, 2012

Group 8 had an awesome and exhausting day: they woke up at 3:45am to hike Masada at sunrise. On top of Masada they davened a spiritual shacharit and participated in a great learning session as well. They had breakfast at the Ein Gedi youth hostel and took a stroll to the pool in Ein Gedi where they got to spend some time in the fresh water spring. After that, they hiked at Nachal David and headed to the Dead Sea. While there, everyone got a chance to put mud on themselves and go into the water and float! Then they started their journey towards Jerusalem, where they will spend their final few days together. When they arrived they had some time to nap prior to dinner and a program, Café Dilemma, focusing on issues facing Israeli society. In the evening they watched a movie together.

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July 31, 2012

Group 8 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. From Tzfat they headed south to the Negev. The group visited a Bedouin tent. There, they had an amazing time riding on camels and learning about the Bedouin traditions. They got to experience Bedouin food for dinner . In the evening they went to bed early to prepare for their early sunrise hike up Masada!

July 30, 2012

The group headed to the Golan Heights this morning where they had a wonderful water hike at the Majrase. 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. The group headed to a Har Bental – a mountain overlooking Syria and then they went to Mitzpe Gadot and had an opportunity to view the beautiful valley. In the evening they returned to base to have a nice BBQ and a pool party.

July 27, 2012

Group 8 hiked down Mount Arbel this morning and then went for a pleasant swim in the Kinneret. They had a delicious lunch at Blue beach before going to ride donkeys at Kfar Kedem. After, they headed back to their base to prepare for Shabbat together. It will be filled with ruach, spirit, learning and more. Shabbat shalom!

July 26, 2012

Group 8 started their day with an overlook of Lebanon in Metulla. There, they got to discuss the borders of Lebanon and what occurred during the Lebanon war. Then they had a pleasant and fun hike in the Banias, which was full of greenery and waterfalls. They ate a delicious pizza lunch and had a blast kayaking in the Jordan River! Then they went shopping at the famous Naot factory at Kibbutz Naot Mordechai where they had fun trying on and purchasing sandals. In the evening they had the opportunity to shop, eat and walk around in Tveria.

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