Group 8: Eastern Europe/Israel Pilgrimage

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 followed by a little time to relax. After, they participated in a bonding program about Jewish heroes; they shared who they look up to and who they were heroes to. It was a very moving activity. In the evening they went on an awesome disco boat ride with groups 1 and 5 around Eilat!

July 15, 2012

After a fun and relaxing free weekend, group 8 reassembled and headed south for the next few days. Their first stop was the Latrun tank museum where everyone enjoyed seeing and climbing on some of the tanks used in Israel’s wars. Their next stop was at Kibbutz Yotvata, which produces some of the most delicious milk products in Israel so everyone got to enjoy ice cream on a very hot day. In the evening they had dinner and had an evening activity.

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 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.

July 11, 2012

The morning began with a visit to the Israel Museum, led by the wonderful tour guide Mark Lazar, followed by a trip to the Old City to tour through the remains from the Second Temple period. They got a chance to see artifacts in the museum, including the Qumran scrolls and more! From there they toured by the Cardo and enjoyed some free time and a tasty lunch at the Jewish quarter. Then they went to the overlook of the Kotel as well as a visit to Robinson’s arch and the Davidson center. They ended their day with mincha at the Kotel and returned to base for a nice BBQ dinner, a shiur with Rabbi Paul Freedman, a trip to Ben Yehuda street for some free time and shopping and final Haevent practice before the big day tomorrow!

July 10, 2012

Group 8 landed early this morning in Israel! They went to Mount Scopus overlook for a welcome ceremony where they did a l’chaim and said the sh’hecheyanu blessing. Then they came to the Fuchsberg center, their base for the next few evenings, to daven shacharit, eat breakfast and go nap for a few hours before eating lunch. Then, they broke up into groups and did a fun scavenger hunt on Ben Yehuda Street followed by Haevent practice. In the evening, after they had dinner, David Levy, the new director of teen learning (USY directory), studied with them. Everyone is looking forward to the rest of their wonderful summer in Israel!

July 9, 2012

The group started their morning at the Genscher Cemetery in Warsaw, which has graves from various leading rabbis. Then they went to the Janusz Korczak memorial; Janusz Korczak worked as a the director of an orphanage in Warsaw and refused freedom when it was offered. As a result, he, along with his orphans, were sent to Treblinka extermination camp. Afterwards, they walked along the Heroes trail around the Warsaw ghetto and learned about the heroes of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. They headed to the Umschlagplatz in Warsaw, which was the site of deportation of the Jews. Then they ate lunch and toured Treblinka, the extermination camp, as well as participated in a memorial ceremony. The group headed to the old town square for some free time and dinner before heading to the airport! Everyone is really excited to get to Israel!

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