Group 4: Israel Pilgrimage/Poland Seminar (1st Departure)
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 began their morning in Akko and went on a tour of the Old Prison Museum. They then headed to Haifa and went to an overlook in the Baha’i Gardens, where they 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 and 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 a unique experience walking through the Druze shuk. Afterwards, the group returned to Hannaton for their final preparations for Ha’event and had an early bedtime before the big day tomorrow!!
July 9, 2013
The group began their morning with a relaxing and enjoyable meditation lead by one of the USYers. Following that, the group headed to Kibbutz Naot Mordechai, where the famous “Naot” shoes are manufactured. The group continued on their next site- Sha’ar Yishuv, a memorial dedicated to a helicopter crash on the border of Lebanon. They then went rafting down the Jordan River and had a great time splashing around and enjoying the water. It was definitely a memorable experience! The group returned to Hannaton, practice for Ha’event, and enjoy a fun evening program.
July 8, 2013
The group began their morning with a wonderful water hike at the Majraseh nature resort. Then they headed to Har Bental, a mountain overlooking Syria, where they learned about the importance of the Golan Heights for Israel and discussed the significance of the Yom Kippur War. They continued 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 then spent some free time in Tiberias, eating dinner and experiencing the city. This evening they will be enjoying an exciting Gadna/IDF night activity.
July 7, 2013
This morning the group headed to 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 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, the synagogues and then enjoyed some free time to walk around. Later on, they were given a tour of the wonderful candle factory in Tzfat. After that, they headed to Rosh Hanikra, where they walked through beautiful grottos that were formed by water hitting the rocks for hundreds of years. And then in the evening, they returned to the kibbutz to prepare for Ha’event and enjoy an exciting evening Drum Circle program.
July 5, 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 Kibbutz Hannaton, where they will be spending a wonderful and meaningful Shabbat together. The group are excited to be sharing another Shabbat together resting, praying, learning Pirkei Avot and hanging out. Shabbat shalom everyone!
July 4, 2013
The group woke up bright and early after a night under the stars and began their morning with a fun hike where they davened mincha at a beautiful lookout point. They then headed to the northern Kibbutz Hannaton to get settled in before going donkey riding in Kfar Kedem. The group will be enjoying a very relaxing fun evening program in the new base in the north.