Group 1: Israel Adventure

July 27, 2014

The group started their final day at Yad Lekashish, a non-profit based in Jerusalem that provides employment and social services to over 300 elderly artisans. They had one last visit to the Old City where they sat and spoke about their experiences in Israel and more specifically Jerusalem. Then Group 1 made a last visit to the Kotel and davened before returning to base to pack and prepare for their final banquet dinner. This evening, the group came together to share memories of everything they have accomplished and all the places they explored together this summer on their incredible journey. Later tonight they will load the bus and head to the airport. We know that Group 1 had an amazing summer and look forward to everyone returning to Israel again soon!

July 25, 2014

Group 1 spent their Friday morning at the Tayelet where there is a beautiful overview of the 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. They passed by the Knesset, Israeli Parliament and took some time to learn and discuss how the Israeli government is run. After an interesting morning, they made their way to the supermarket where they stocked up on Shabbat treats. This is Group 1’s last Shabbat in the Holy Land. They will be spending it at the Fuchsberg Center where they will be joined by Groups 3 and 4, as well as a special visitor- Rabbi Dave Levy, the Director of Teen Learning. This Shabbat will be filled with meaningful davening, singing, ruach, bonding, relaxing and lots of fun! Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem!

Here are some pictures from earlier this week!

July 24, 2014

The group began their morning with a visit to the Herzl Museum, and then visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. This was an extremely interesting and important tour. Afterwards, they visited 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 public figures who have greatly influenced the development of the state. They stopped at the graves of Herzl, Yoni Netanyahu, Michael Levin and other famous soldiers and they heard personal stories from the Israeli staff themselves. This was a very emotional experience for the USYers, especially in light of the current situation in Israel. After an emotional day, the group made their way to Ben Yehuda Street where they enjoyed some time out on the town, eating ice cream and buying other fun treats. They returned to base for some free time to unwind before heading to bed.

July 23, 2014

Group 1 spent their day learning about mitzvot and Tikun Olam work with Mitzvah Hero Danny Siegel. They spent the first half of their morning volunteering at a Russian Retirement Center in the Ramot neighborhood. The USYers helped out by painting apartments in the center of the neighborhood. After eating lunch at a beautiful lookout point in Ramot, they returned to Agron where they spent some time with Danny Siegal talking about the many different Tikkun Olam programs and in what way they can be involved back home. They also heard from an inspirational mitzvah hero, Dov Ber, who spoke of his travel experiences and who founded non-profit organizations specializing in underprivileged childcare.  After a very productive and fulfilling day of helping out, they got pumped up for an exciting evening of “Battle of the Sexes”.

July 22, 2014

The group woke up at the crack of dawn and hiked Masada. Fortunately they made it up there before sunrise and were able to watch the beautiful sunrise from up top. After this, the group visited the Ahava Factory where they were able to buy products. Exhausted from their early morning wake-up,  the group headed to Jerusalem where they had some time to stock up on goodies at the supermarket, and get some much-needed rest. In the evening, they enjoyed an exciting evening of Drama Games where they had loads of fun!

July 21, 2014

Group 1 began their morning with a refreshing and pleasant hike through Nachal David and spent some time in the fresh water springs of Ein Gedi. This was a wonderful way to start off the day! After that, they headed to the Dead Sea, painted themselves in mud, and enjoyed floating around in the water! Their next stop was camel riding in Kfar Hanokdim and then enjoying an amazing night at the Bedouin tents, where the group was treated to Bedouin hospitality.  They learned about the Bedouin culture and community, ate a delicious kosher meal, and enjoyed sleeping in the Bedouin tents this evening. They also participated in an intriguing ecological program where they learned about how the Bedouins survive in the extreme desert climate and how they preserve their water. This is definitely one of the highlights of the trip!

July 20, 2014

The group returned from Free Weekend, all refreshed and ready to begin a new week! They began their journey to the Masada Hostel , where they spent some time swimming and enjoying themselves. Later in the evening the group learned about the core values of the Israel Defense Forces and its importance in our society.  

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