Senior Israel Experience 2017

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May 21, 2017

May 21, 2017
By Jared R. and Yael R.

Ok, Sunday morning we woke up quite early to pack in preparation to leave Degania B for Jerusalem. We began our day by davening ki-yachid, which means praying by ourselves. Then we ate breakfast, arduously loaded the bus like a complex game of tetris, and drove off to our final hike up north - the Madjrase water hike. After walking through the water, slipping a bit, and taking a very wet group picture, we drove to Haifa to see the beautiful Baha'i Gardens and overlook of the very teal Mediterranean Sea. Next we had a scrumptious Druze lunch at Nora's kitchen in Daliat L'carmel, where we also learned about the Druze religion and beliefs. We then sat on another bus ride in anticipation of seeing a long lost friend - Shachar Pery! We visited Shachar's home, met her family and friends, were treated with Israeli snacks, and were then on our way to Jerusalem. We cannot wait to see Shachar again later in the trip!

Once in Jerusalem, we dropped our stuff off in the fantastic Fuchsberg Center on Agron Street and walked over together to Ben Yehudah street. On Ben Yehudah street we were given money to buy ourselves our own dinners and were given free time to shop around the stores there. As we were leaving, we saw a huge mob of people walking away from something and were curious as to where this exodus of people were coming from. We walked until we saw that David's Citadel in the Old City walls had transformed into a site of a huge light and dance show. We danced with thousands of other people to Israeli music and had a superb time, culminating in us all of us buying ice cream and walking happily back to the Fuchsberg Center to sleep. We have a huge day ahead of us in the Old City tomorrow so it's time to get some sleep. Laila Tov!

Jared R. and Yael R.

May 19, 2017

May 19, 2017
By Mike Hirsch
After Shacharit and breakfast, we walked over to Galita, the chocolate workshop at Degania Bet. We got the chance to make different chocolate treats which we're going to get to enjoy over Shabbat. 

We then made our way to a cemetery in Tiberias, the Kineret Cemetary to pay our respects to some of the pioneers who helped found our Jewish homeland. Among the graves visited was that of Naomi Shemer, the composer of the song "Yershalayim Shel Zahav."

Our next stop for the day was a hike down Mount Arbel. Climbing down steel rungs along the side of the mountain was at times treacherous, but it was exciting to make our way down the mountainside as a grade, encouraging one another along the way.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Blue Beach restaurant, complete with schnitzel, fries, abundant salads and of course pita and hummus. After lunch we got to swim around in the Kinneret and enjoy some fun in the sun.
We made our way back to Degania after stopping at a local supermarket to buy snacks for Shabbat and everyone picked the name of someone in the group out of a bag and bought them a Shabbuddy (Shabbat Buddy) gift to help make their Shabbat more enjoyable.

We're off to light candles and enjoy our first of three shabbatot here in Israel.

Shabbat Shalom,

-Mike H.

May 18, 2017

May 18, 2017
By Isaac B. And Bella D.

We woke up today at 615am and began davening at 645am. After a spirited Shacharit and Torah service, we had breakfast and headed out to start our day early. After driving for about an hour into the Golan Heights we arrived at Nachal El-Al put on sunscreen on and were on our way. The landscape was breathtaking as we descended the mountain. As we walked along the path, thorns, berry bushes, and the seven species, surrounded us as we hiked. About half-way through, we reached the "black waterfall." It is named this because the mountain we were descending used to be an active volcano and the eruptions millions of years ago left black basalt rock everywhere. As we continued on with our hike we drank many liters of water and eventually reached the white waterfall. This waterfall is surrounded by limestone, the material used for Jerusalem stone, which was the existing rock layer before it was exposed to the molten lava from the volcanic eruptions.

In the middle of the hike we stopped and sat down to rest. Itzik, our tour guide, shared with us that today was the anniversary of Eli Cohen's execution. He was an Egyptian Jew who spied on Syria for Mossad. When his identity was revealed, the Syrians were quick to sentence him to death. After his execution his wife has one request: to honor his memory. We did so today. 

After finishing the hike, we sat down for a shawarma lunch and enjoyed the landscape we just traversed. 
Our next stop was a Druze village, where we visited a local school and learned about their culture. 
Afterwards, we went near the Israeli Syrian boarder and learned about how the placement of the boarder came to be. We then went to a former צהל base, near the northern border on Har BenTal and got a quick snack before the hour ride to dinner.

We arrived in Tiberias and had dinner at Decks, a restaurant overlooking the Kinneret. After dinner we went onto a disco boat in the Kinneret and spent an hour dancing and having fun. We returned to Degania, had some free time, and then called it a night.

Isaac B. And Bella D.

May 17, 2017

May 17, 2017
By Noa J. And Eric Z.

This morning, just like any other, we started by davening together, but today was different in that our group finally sang out loud. Prayer and song filled the room and had a light start to the day.

Right after breakfast we departed for the old and spiritual city of Tzfat. There we learned about the history and significance of this holy city as we toured its streets and synagogues. At the Ha'ari Synagogue, which is one of the few open all day for tourists to visit, was named In honor of Isaac Luria, the founder of mysticism and spirituality in Tzfat. We then went our separate ways to the Judaica shops in the streets below. After exploring the galleries and boutiques of Tzfat on our own, we reconvened at the workshop of a local artist by the name of Avraham. There, Avraham taught us the significance of Jewish mysiticism in his life and the impact it has had on his work. Each painting he creates represented a different elements of the basic aspects of Jewish mysticism and explained how each Jew should strive to give back to their community rather than take. After a refreshing pizza lunch, we departed Tzfat for Moona, an Israeli Arab technology center in the Maja Al-Kurum village. There we learned the basics of 3D printing, computer programing, and drone flying in an interactive and fun environment.

We then traveled to Tiberias where we went off in groups to various restaurants for dinner. Immediately after dinner, the group hopped on a bus to travel to Kibbutz Shaar HaGolan to swim at their indoor pool to cool off after a hot and busy day.

Noa J. And Eric Z.

May 16, 2017

May 16, 2017
By Alex K. And Niels V.
After an exhausting but exciting first day, we were eager to begin the second day of our trip. While our day officially started at 7:45, those of us who were still jet lagged awoke to the sound of the chirping birds around 5:15. We davened as a grade and then ate breakfast in Degania. From there we drove to Nachal Snir where we trekked through our first water hike. There is no better feeling than being in cold water during 90 degree weather. From the hike it was off to rafting down the Jordan River, which was relaxing to say the least. We then stuffed our faces with delicious custom pizzas.

After our rafting adventures, we journied to the Kibbutz Neot Mordechai, to visit Naot factory shop, where some of us elected to purchase various shoes and sandals. Once we came back to Degania we had some much needed time to relax and enjoy dinner.

As the sun set, our day drew to a close with a drummers circle. We then spent time some time banging on drums and performing different songs as a group, which was accompanied by funny dance routines. After splitting up into our committee groups, we enjoyed some free time to end a great day.

Alex K. And Niels V.

May 15, 2017

May 15, 2017
By Ilana A. And Jordana C.

Today's been a long day. We all woke up with an anxious feeling in our stomachs anticipating the adventure of lifetime. Little did we know, the plane ride would be an adventure in itself. Ten hours seems like a long time, and it is. But as schechter kids we know how to make the best of everything. First we met all the birthrighters, they were cool! Then we walked around then plane a lot and Abby got to see the cockpit because she's got the connect. The hummus was yummus!! We got off the plane and loaded our stuff into the bus bouncing off of our seats awaiting the possibilities of what the rest of the day could hold.

Itzik took us to a lookout over Nahalal where we learned the importance of packing up and going on a journey as Jews. We learned about Ilan Ramon who was the first Israeli to go to space and we learned what he packed with him for his journey the importance of each of the items. Upon visiting his grave site, we began to contemplate the significance of the people who gave so much for the state of Israel to be created.

We got stuck in a lot of Lag B'Omer traffic as we made our way north towards Degania, our home for the next few nights. We were given money for dinner at a strip mall where we dined on Falafel, Shawarma, and some pasta dishes.

Before we knew it, we got to our hostel, showered, rested and met as a class to talk about the exciting things we're going to be doing in the next few weeks. Laila Tov for now!

-Ilana A. And Jordana C.

#ssliisrael17 #schechterli

All Posts

5/21/17 - By Jared R. and Yael R.
5/19/17 - By Mike Hirsch
5/18/17 - By Isaac B. And Bella D.
5/17/17 - By Noa J. And Eric Z.
5/16/17 - By Alex K. And Niels V.
5/15/17 - By Ilana A. And Jordana C.
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