Senior Israel Experience 2017

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June 2, 2017

June 02, 2017
By Matt B. and Eric Z.

Today started off by waking up later than usual... 7:30. Since today was our last weekday minyan together as a grade, today's service was filled with Ruach and energy which was somewhat rare for us. We even sang some throwback tunes from our Freshmen year minyan with Rabbi Josh Rabin . After services and breakfast, we hopped on the bus to Gush Etzion. Our first stop was a lookout point viewing the many Kibbutzim and Moshavim in the area. Itzik gave us a short history lesson of "The Gush" with detailed maps of Israel throughout the decades. Next we went to the museum Gush Etzion and watched a touching and informing multimedia presentation detailing the events that occurred there during Israel's War of Independence. We learned of the lasting effect the tragedies of war had on the descendants of Gush Etzion's original settlers and Itzik shared how he sits in shul next to the son of one of the Kibbutzniks who died in the 1948 battle.

To begin winding up our trip, we drove down the block to Itzik's home in Kibbutz Kfar Etzion. There we met his wife and three of his four daughters.Itzik thanked the group for an amazing three weeks and the seniors thanked him with a heartfelt gift and poem. As a final feast with our beloved tour guide, lunch was held at the Gush Etzion winery which was a short 5 minutes away. Departing with Itzik was anything but easy today, but we will always remember and feel the love for Israel that he instilled in us.

To cap off the day we went the Shuk Machane Yehudah to buy some some goodies and last minute gifts for our final Shabbat as a grade.

As we welcome in Shabbat from the Fuchsberg Center in Jerusalem, there is a bittersweet taste in everyone's mouth as we look forward to celebrating Shabbag together but dread departing from Israel the tomorrow evening. We would like to thank all of you who were up to date on our daily blogs and hope you enjoyed coming along the journey of our senior Israel trip with us. It has truly been the trip of a lifetime!



Shabbat shalom and see you soon,

Love your favorite college roommates!
-Matt B. and Eric Z.

June 1,2017

June 01, 2017
By Abby L. and Ilana A.

This morning we headed off to the Beit Gibran National Park to participate in an archeological dig! We found some cool treasures; pottery, bricks and even animal bones as well as some wonderful dirt in the cave. The cave was created during the time of the Maccabees and we learned a lot about their history in the area and how various civilizations built their cities upon the remains of their predecessors.

After getting really dusty from the dig, we took a nice and refreshing swim in the pool at Kibbutz Beit Guvrin, a short drive from the archaeological dig site. It was nice to kick back and relax and enjoy a delicious lunch there.

We dried off and got on the bus for a ride to Tel Aviv! When we arrived we were split into three teams for a scavenger hunt. We ran all over the city to find statues, sculptures and monuments around Tel Aviv. It was a tiring experience but really fun and exciting. Congratulations to the yellow team!

We returned this evening to Jerusalem and were treated to a light show projected on one of the Old City's outter walls. There was some cool Israeli music and we danced a little.


Lilah Tov!

Abby L. and Ilana A.

May 31, 2017

May 31, 2017
By Yael R. And Hannah S.

Last night, to celebrate the beginning of Shavuot, we attended a conservative service at Moreshet Israel, right next to our hostel. We prayed and learned Torah and Mishnah passages that connect to Shavuot. After a delicious dairy dinner, we had the option of attending text-study sessions throughout the night in Jerusalem. The majority of the group went to the first one, which lasted until 12:30 AM while others went longer into the early morning.

This morning, we woke up at 4 AM to venture to the Old City. There, we prayed at Ezrat Yisrael, a dedicated area by Robinson's Arch with other members of the Conservative community while the sun rose. Then, we went to the Kotel for the final time to say our personal prayers. We then returned to our hostel to have breakfast and sleep in.

Later in the day, we did an activity that explored our connections to Shavuot, Judaism, and Israel. After, we did Havdalah and concluded Shavuot. We ended the night by walking on Ben Yehudah Street where we had some time for final gift purchases for home and we even bumped into some friends!

Lilah Tov and Chag Sameach to our friends and family back in the states!

Yael R. And Hannah S.

May 30, 2017

May 30, 2017
By Abby L. and Abby N.

Our day started off with a drive to Mitzpe Ramon. We prayed at a beautiful lookout point and then we walked to the Machtesh Ramon Visitors Center which showcases the life and death of Ilan Ramon who was the first Israeli Astronaut in space. At the center, we learned about his life and passion for Israel. He was a dedicated Air Force pilot and astronaut and will always be remembered. The center also covered the geographic phenomena which created the crater and teaches about the wild life of the area. We then drove to Sde Boker to eat lunch. We talked about Ben Gurion's passion for the desert and the amazing things he did for it. We paid our respects to David and Paula Ben Gurion's graves, took a beautiful group photo and then drove back to Jerusalem and are getting ready for Shavuot!

Chag Sameach!!

Abby L. and Abby N.

May 29, 2017

May 29, 2017
By Jonah B.

Today started early at around 6 as the group gathered for a biking tour of kibbutz קטורה, where we are currently staying. On our tour we saw the date palm trees that serve as the kibbutz's #1 source of revenue, as well as the border between Israel and Jordan. After our tour we had breakfast and davened Shacharit. Then we went on a tour of the kibbutz's off grid village, featuring Israeli invented water purification and sustainable energy tech. We then made our way towards Eilat, stopping at Kibbutz Yotvata, where many dairy products are made and enjoyed ice cream and other delicious treats. In Eilat we had lunch and went snorkeling in the Red Sea, where we saw some pretty unusual fish. Then we spent the evening in the Kasui Sand Dunes of the Arava valley. Following some meaningful time to spread out and privately reflect on our trip and our high school careers, we got to jump, roll and flip along the dunes. Following a breathtaking sunset, we made our own Pita, roasted marshmallows, and capped off the day with a bit of stargazing.



Lilah Tov!

Jonah B.

May 28, 2017

May 28, 2017
By By Ilana A. and Sara K.

Today we started the day early and had our alarms set for 2 am. We dragged ourselves and our belongings downstairs for a quick breakfast, then stumbled on to the bus by 3 am. We power napped on the hour and a half bus ride to Masada, and by 4:30 am, we were fearless. The hike started energetically as we passed through the gates, little did we know, a mere 2 minutes later, we'd all be exhausted. The wind was against us as we trekked up the mountain, yet we persevered, drinking copious amounts of water. Surprisingly, we made it up to the top of the mountain in only 50 minutes, just in time for sunrise. We sat and watched (and live streamed) the beautiful sun, as it peaked over the Dead Sea and the red mountains surrounding it. We davened Shacharit as we watched the sun rise. Later, Itzik guided us around the mountain fortress, teaching us all about how Masada was one of King Herod's fortified palaces. We learned the unfortunate turn of events that occurred with the cultural war involving the Zealots and Romans. We saw the luxurious baths and incredible mosaics King Herod built. We were off the mountain by 9 am, and had time to shop at the Ahava store, had a fulfilling breakfast, then hopped on the bus that headed to Ein Gedi. At Ein Gedi, we all had a blast splashing each other and cooling off under the waterfalls. After that, we got back on the bus and headed to the Dead Sea. We covered ourselves in mud, exfoliating the skin and then dunked our bodies in the hot salty water, floating, talking and laughing. This was all before lunch. We ate and showered and piled into the bus ready to continue our journey South. The next two hours we slept as Sergei drove us to the beautiful kibbutz K'Tura where we were debriefed on our events for the rest of the day and were given forty-five minutes to settle down. Kibbutz member David took us on an amazing tour of the kibbutz. He taught us about how the Kibbutz started and the industries that help keep the Kibbutz in business. After that, we were led to a backyard BBQ for dinner, and ended the night with a swim. As we're winding down the day, we're sitting now with some of the kids who grew up here and learning about life here for people our age. Lilah tov!



By Ilana A. and Sara K.

May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017
By Sara B and Isaac B

All week we have been celebrating and leading up to Yom Yerushalayim, but today was more of a serious day, commemorating those who lost their lives in order for us to have this beautiful and holy city. We began the day by going to the Yad Vashem Museum where we learned about those who lost their lives in the Holocaust. Instead of doing the traditional museum visit, we were given the opportunity to see the other exhibits that aren't as well known including a Children's Memorial, an actual cattle car the Nazis used to transport Jews, and a tower commemorating the heros of the Holocaust. In order to process all of the information we had just learned, we gathered in the learning center at the museum to learn about frequently asked questions regarding the Holocaust, for example "Where was G-d during this time?" Or "Why didn't the Allies bomb Auschwitz?"

After eating lunch in the museum's cafeteria we walked down a path that connects Yad Vashem and Har Herzl. We then learned about Theodore Herzl's life and the dream he had for a Jewish state. After visiting his grave and paying our respects we saw other important Israeli figures' grave sites including Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Golda Meir. We also saw a memorial dedicated to victims of terrorist attacks since the beginning of Israel's creation. We concluded our visit at Har Herzl at the cemetery's military area. Here we saw the grave of Michael Levin, an American lone solider who died in the second Lebonon war. His grave was covered with memorabilia left by his grave site visitors.

We then shifted gears by driving to a newer memorial, commemorating the terrorist attacks on America at the 9/11 memorial right outside of Jerusalem. It is in the shape of a circle and has a large statue of an American flag in the center and a piece of the rubble from the attacks. This memorial is the only memorial for 9/11 outside of the USA with all of the victims names.

After another 30 minute bus ride for decompressing the days emotional impact, the group arrived at Agron. We then got ready for Pizzur dinner and spent the night at Ben Yehudah Street.



Shabbat Shalom, 
Sara B and Isaac B

May 24, 2017

May 24, 2017
By Talia G. and David V.

Hello all,

We started our journey today at an overlook which provided us with a scenic view of Jerusalem. We took beautiful pictures there in the spirit of Yom Yerushalayim. We then traveled to Sataf, the remains of an Arab village which have been beautified by the Jewish National Fund. Itzik told us a story about Shlomo Epstein, a medic who sacrificed his life save a fellow soldier during the Six Day War. We then returned to Agron, dressed in our awesome Schechter Celebrates 50 years with Jerusalem shirts, and joined the festivities of Yom Yerushalayim right around the corner. There were lots of people dancing, singing, and chanting. We stopped for a quick bite at Agron for dinner and continued to party our way into the Old City. Although, we did not make it to the Kotel, we danced and sang to Zionist tunes in Kikar HaHurva. We felt a great deal of unity with the State of Israel and with the beautiful city of Jerusalem. As Itzik says, "We became part of Israel's history." We capped off our evening with a trip to the supermarket to grab some snacks.



Talia G. and David V.

May 23, 2017

May 23, 2017
By By Abby L. and Abby N.

This morning we headed off to Tel Aviv to visit the Ayalon Institute, an underground bullet factory. We learned about how a group of teenagers were pulled into this huge secret, and all the struggles that came with it. Even the kibbutz they were on didn't know about it. It's amazing how well thought out their planning was to help supply troops with ammunition! Then we went to the Palmach Museum. This was no ordinary museum. The creators of the museum, the original Palmach, wanted their visitors to have the experience not the history. Each room was a different scene in the story of the journey of the Palmach. After the Palmach, we went to the Independence Hall, learned about the founding of the Jewish State. We sat in the actual room where David Ben Gurion and his colleagues signed Israel's Declaration of Independence. Then we walked through Nahalat Benyamin, an artists bazaar and saw the beautiful work of local Israeli artists. Then we went to a mall for dinner and shopping. We ended our day by attending a tribute to the paratroopers who reunified Jerusalem during the Six Day War. Our tour guide, Itzik, is a paratrooper in the reserves and we went so to honor him and his brigade. There were songs and speeches, and we even got to see Shuli Natan who first sang "ירושלים של זהב" perform it live tonight. It was definitely a historical and meaningful day.



By Abby L. and Abby N.

Recent Posts

6/2/17 - By Matt B. and Eric Z.
6/1/17 - By Abby L. and Ilana A.
5/31/17 - By Yael R. And Hannah S.
5/30/17 - By Abby L. and Abby N.
5/29/17 - By Jonah B.
5/28/17 - By By Ilana A. and Sara K.
5/25/17 - By Sara B and Isaac B
5/24/17 - By Talia G. and David V.
5/23/17 - By By Abby L. and Abby N.
5/22/17 - By Matt B. And Jonah B.


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