Friday, May 4, 2012
We woke up at the old city of Jaffa at 8:30 (the latest yet) and ate our most extravagant breakfast all trip.
We headed over to the Palmach Museum, which was about the brave Palmach, the first all Jewish military since the time of the second temple. They were a fully integrated army between men and women and treated everyone as equals. The Palmach started as a political movement to show the British that we could survive as an independent state. With only 700 members at its founding it fought valiantly and grew to employ over 6,000 16 to 30 year-olds.
Next, we headed over to Neot Kedumim, a biblical nature reserve, for a lunch of sandwiches that we had ordered the day before. After lunch, we went into the reserve and helped plant trees and learn about how things were made in biblical times, such as olive oil, cisterns and zatar. We crushed our own zatar but we weren’t allowed to bring it on the plane.
We then drove into the heart of Old Jaffa where the flea market is. We split up into groups of four and had free time. They had everything there, from motorcycles to mezuzahs and fried donuts to fried locusts.
After that, we went to Na La’Gaat (“Please Touch”) center for the deaf and blind in Jaffa. We had a very meaningful experience communicating, learning sign language, and playing games with two deaf people. We learned about their life as deaf people and how they coped with it.
Then we went on a walk around old Jaffa and ended up at a park and talked about our favorite experience on the trip. We then went back to Na La’Gaat to have a lovely dinner served by deaf people.
After this we went to the Independence Hall in Tel Aviv. We learned about how David Ben Gurion declared Israel an independent state. We heard footage of his exact words at the meeting in 1948 and finished by all singing the Hatikva together.
Finally, we headed to the airport, said goodbye to leaders of the trip, boarded our plane, and made our way back to the Bay.
Shabbat Shalom,Ethan and Eli S.
Posted by Rabbi Yehudah Potok at 1:53 PM
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
We started our day very early with a 5:00 am wake up. We quickly ate a snack and set out on a hike through the vast desert to see the sunrise. Unfortunately we had a bit of a late start which changed the course of our hike from a hike to see the sunrise to an adventurous hike with a rewarding view point at the end. The hike included steep slopes, streams, high ladders, and breathtaking views. Once on top of the last mountain, we had the opportunity to sit alone and enjoy nature while taking in the fabulous experience.
After the hike, we loaded the bus and went to a small field center for a picnic breakfast. Then we went to Kibbutz Sde Boker to visit David Ben-Gurion’s home in the Negev desert. Many of us were fighting heat and exhaustion, but in the end it was a fascinating experience. Following
Sde Boker we had a short drive to David and Paula Ben-Gurion’s graves and memorial. There we learned even more about the visions of Ben-Gurion and what he had done throughout his life. At the memorial we placed stones on the tops of the graves in their memory.
We then began the two hour bus ride towards Tel-Aviv with a short stop for lunch. We also stopped in Rehovot and participated in project Leket which picks and provides produce to the hungry of Israel. As a class we were able to collect about 3,000 pounds of potatoes. Everybody enjoyed the competitive spirit which motivated us to gather as much as possible. It was a meaningful experience for everybody because we felt as though we were beginning to give back to Israel for all that it has given us.
For a special treat, we had the chance to stop at Moshav Beit-Gamliel to visit our former classmate Itamar and the entire Twito family. There we enjoyed a delicious BBQ dinner, played sports, and were even able to meet a few Israeli kids from the Moshav. We sadly said our goodbyes and thanked them for their generous hospitality.
From there we made our way to Old Yafo, our final destination. As our trip is nearing its end we spent the evening tracking our journeys and recording our experiences in our journals. We’ve been having an amazing time and are so sad tomorrow will be our last day….. jokes on you cuz we’re not comin back!!!
Lots of love from your children in the holy land. We love you so much but aren’t quite ready to come home yet!! Good night!! Praise the Lord of Abraham Isaac and Jacob who has brought forth this land and made it possible for the children of Israel to visit and tour their heritage……….
Sarah, Avigayil, and Zepora
Posted by Rabbi Yehudah Potok at 10:16 PM