Eastern Europe/Israel Pilgrimage
*The pictures below are links; clicking on them will take you to a larger version of that picture.
Sunday, July 25th:
After a relaxing Shabbat, group 9 spent the day learning about mitzvah projects with Danny Siegel. They toured around Jerusalem in the morning, visiting the Rabbanit Kapach, an Israel Prize winning Mitzvah Hero as well as a home for 13 physically disabled adults. In the afternoon, they learned about how to bring social action projects back to their home communities and heard from the director of an organization for the families of wounded Israeli soldiers. The group participated in a presentation about Nativ the college leadership program in Israel which is run by USY. After dinner, the group enjoyed drama games.
Monday, July 26th:
Today, Group 9 learned about what USY calls “New Jerusalem,” which basically traces the line that was Israel’s border with Jordan before 1967. First they went to Armon Hanatziv promenade, an overlook where the entire city can be seen with the Old City in the Center. It is said that this is the place where Abraham stood when he saw the city for the first time. From there they went to Ammunition Hill, where they walked through the trenches that used to be part of a Jordanian bunker that was the center of battle in 1967. After lunch they drove to Mount Herzl where they visited the graves of the founders of Zionism, Yitchak Rabin, Hannah Senesh, and Michael Levin z"l, a Nativ and Camp Ramah alum who fell in battle during the War in Lebanon in 2006. After dinner they heard Neil Lazarus give a fascinating lecture on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Tuesday, July 27th:
Group 9 left Jerusalem this morning and headed north. They started off with a tour of Haifa, including the spectacular Bhai gardens, overlooking the whole city. They ate lunch at the Usafia Druze Village where they were hosted to a delicious kosher Druze meal. It is in fact one of the food highlights of the summer. They heard an explanation about the Druze religion and were interested in this small community with unique rules. They then had a short hike around the Carmel. They arrived Kibbutz Hanaton, the Conservative kibbutz in the north of Israel as well as their base for the next few days, and enjoyed a delicious BBQ for dinner followed by a night swim.
Wednesday, July 28th:
Group 9 spent their day around the Kinneret. They hiked down the Arbel, a fortress from the Second Temple Period. Then they cooled off from the hot day with a swim in the Kinneret! From there they visited the cemetery by the Kinneret where the famous poet Rahel is buried, as well as Naomi Shemer, famous for her song "Jerusalem of Gold." In the afternoon, the group rode donkeys and each had a turn to drive and ride. They dressed up like ancient donkey drivers and learned about the history of Kfar Kedem. Then they returned to the Kibbutz and after dinner enjoyed a program about the Israeli Army prepared by their Israeli staff.
Thursday, July 29th:
Group 9 began their day with a three hours hike at the beautiful canyon of the Jilabun. From there they headed to Kibbutz El Rom visited the “Oz 77” monument on the very battlefield where tanks clashed in 1973. There they viewed 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. This afternoon they went to an overlook from Har Bental where they learned about the importance of the Golan Heights for Israel. For dinner the group went out at Tverya.
Friday, July 30th:
Today, group 9 visited the Bio Bi factory in Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, which invented the most advanced technique in the world currently used for biological pest control. They also visited the home of Eyal, their Israeli counselor who grew up in the Kibbutz. Later the group returned to Hannaton to prepare for Shabbat. Shabbat shalom!
For more pictures from this week click here!