Group 1: Israel Adventure
July 9, 2013
The group left Eilat this morning and headed to Kibbutz Ketura. Once there, they got the opportunity to learn 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 even a wonderful swim in the kibbutz pool! Afterwards, they headed to Mitzpe Ramon and got to go rappelling down the side of a mountain; which everyone thoroughly enjoyed! In the evening, their desert experience began. They all cooperated, much like in a kibbutz, in order to make their own dinner, and build up their “site”. They went on an evening hike and had a pleasant night star-gazing and enjoying the beautiful nature!
July 8, 2013
Today the group had an exciting and fun day in Eilat! First, they had the exciting opportunity to snorkel and observe the sea landscape in the Red Sea (which is in fact blue). The group then went to the underwater observatory and saw sharks, tortoises, and an entire assortment of fish in the aquarium. They had a delicious lunch in the Hallelujah restaurant followed by a little time to relax. They returned to their hotsel and had a fun “get to know your staff” program, sometime practicing for the USY Israel Pilgrimage summer event, known as “Ha’event”, and then headed out for some fun on the Disco Boat!
July 7, 2013
The group started their day by heading south and going on a pleasant hike at Ein Ovdat. They continued to Sde Boker where the group visited David Ben Gurion’s grave, the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel. A little later, they visited Ben Gurion’s house at Kibbutz Sde Boker. They learned about Ben Gurion’s vision: to make the desert flourish and blossom and to be heavily populated. They then began their journey to the southernmost city of Israel, Eilat and made a quick stop over at Kibbutz Yotvata (the Kibbutz where the beloved “Shoko” is from). The group will be spending some free time at the Eilat promenade this evening and will be enjoying their first night in Eilat.
July 5, 2013
This morning the group headed to the City of David to learn more about the First Temple period. Their highlight was walking through Hezekaya’s Tunnel, a water aqueduct that brought water to the city during the time of King Hezekayah (700 BCE). Then they headed to Machane Yehuda, the open market in Jerusalem where they bought fresh fruits, vegetables and delicious treats before Shabbat. They returned to the Fuchsberg Center to prepare for their first Shabbat together in Israel. The group will be davening at Yemin Moshe, which overlooks the Old City walls. They will also be joined by a very special guest, Rabbi Dave Levy (USCJ’s Director of Teen Learning), and his family this Shabbat. They are all extremely excited to be spending their first Shabbat together as a group, learning, singing and hanging out! Shabbat Shalom!
July 4, 2013
This morning, Group 1 did an archeological dig at Tel Maresha, where they opened the door to the past and found ancient artifacts! They also engaged in an interesting dialogue about Israel’s history. Then they went spelunking, which is the exploration of caves, in ancient tunnels. They arrived at Beit Guvrin, davened mincha and went for a refreshing swim in the beautiful swimming pool! They were lucky to have been joined by CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Rabbi Steven Wernick, and his family. They then returned to the Fuchsberg center for a study session with Rabbi Paul Freedman and had a fun evening program to end off this wonderful day.
July 3, 2013
The group woke up to their first official day in Israel and had a very busy yet exciting day! They began their morning with a visit to the Israel Museum, where they saw exhibits such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. They then continued on to the Herodian Mansions, remains of a house of priests from the Second Temple period.They toured around the Jewish Quarter and visited the Southern Wall Excavations and the Davidson Centre. Finally, they ended with an exciting visit to the Kotel, where they spent some time davening. The group returned to the Fuchsberg Center for an orientation next. This evening they will be having some free time on Ben Yehuda Street, a lively street in the heart of Jerusalem.