Group 1: Israel Adventure
July 18, 2013
The group began their morning with a pleasant hike down Mt. Arbel, followed by a most memorable meal at Blue Beach Restaurant. They then enjoyed a refreshing swim in the beautiful Kinneret before heading to Kfar Kedem for some fun donkey-riding. In the evening they went to Kibbutz Hannaton for a fantastic BBQ and swim shared with Groups 5 and 6.
July 17, 2013
The group headed up north to 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. It is undoubtedly 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 walking through the Druze market. They then went to Kfar Kedem to enjoy some donkey riding and then headed to Kibbutz Hannaton where they will be staying this week.
July 15, 2013
The group spent their day learning about mitzvot and Tikun Olam work with mitzvah hero, Danny Siegel. They spent the first half of their morning doing an assembly line of food donations in Ramat neighborhood before moving on to volunteer at the Diplomat, a live-in for Russian immigrants. They got to spend time and hear personal stories from some of the immigrants as well. They returned to the base and prepared for Tisha Be’av. The group will be davening in the Old City tonight together with Group 2 at the Robinson’s Arch with the Masorti/conservative community.
The group met up after their free weekend and began the morning by learning about modern Jerusalem and tracing the line that was Israel’s border with Jordan before 1967. Their first stop was at the promenade which provided a beautiful overview of the New and Old City. Then, they went to Ammunition Hill and walked through trenches which used to be a part of a Jordanian bunker that was the center of battle in 1967 Six Day War. The group then continued to Har Herzl, 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, Yitzchak Rabin, ‘Yoni Netanyahu, Michael Levin, and more. After this very emotional day, the group headed back to the Fuchsberg Center where they had a very interesting talk by Neil Lazaraus on Israeli current affairs.
July 12, 2013
Yesterday, the groups had a fantastic time hanging out with the other USYers at HaEvent. This morning, the USYers left for their Free Weekend. Some went to relatives while others stayed on base, but all were extremely excited for time to sleep and get refreshed for the busy week ahead. Shabbat Shalom!
July 11, 2013
Today, all six USY Israel Pilgrimage groups gathered together for their annual event called HaEvent. It was inspiring to see hundreds of USYers cheering and competing. Each group proudly wore a USY t-shirt in a different color. It was the first opportunity for all six groups to be together this summer. As USYers mingled with their friends from other groups, they did not have to look far to realize that their individual experiences this summer are a part of something much bigger than themselves. All of the spectators were amazed at each group’s creativity during the final competition that took place in the amphitheater in Mitzpe Modi’in. The enthusiasm was contagious as each group performed their original song and cheer. When the competition concluded, all of the groups sang Hatikva and gathered to sing and dance together as the USY Pilgrimage community. Before the USY event, we held for the SECOND time ever a gathering of all USY pilgrimage and Ramah seminar participants. There were over 600 kids and staff gathered at the JNF Park Canada. The program consisted of a study session, music and dancing. It was a great success!!
July 10, 2013
The group woke up after an amazing night spent under the stars and began their morning with a hike in Mitzpe Ramon, before their journey to Tel Aviv. Once in Tel Aviv, they visited Kikar Rabin, the site of Yitzchak Rabin’s final hours as he went to a peace rally and was then assassinated. From there, they headed to the Olympic Museum, where they learned about the Olympic Games and the Israeli’s participation in them over the years. This evening they will enjoy some free time and practice for Ha’event which is happening TOMORROW!!