JOLT Israel
Days 14 and 15- It Keeps Getting Better

Dear NCSY JOLT Israel Family,

I hope this email finds you well. Te past two days have been fantastic and really caused us to come even closer. I am amazed at how so many of our NCSY JOLT Israel kids have connected so quickly and deeply to our Simcha LaYeled campers. I look around at any given time and they are sitting together, singing together and enjoying each other. Even though language is a difficult barrier to break through, both groups have found a way to connect despite barriers that may exist. 

Yesterday was interesting as it was inspiring. We went to a robotic milk farm in Avnei Eitan in the Golan. We got a tour of the “Refet” or cow shed, fed baby cows, made butter and learned about all of the high tech innovations Israel is making in the area of dairy farming. Obviously the highlight was getting fresh chocolate milk! We had an awesome lunch of fresh falafel, pita and salads which we ate in the shade of fruit trees bearing delicious plums and nectarines. We actually continued our day together picking fresh fruit from the trees. We learned about the agriculture industry in Israel and of course the special Mitzvos Teluyos BaAretz. We learned what we can eat and what we can’t as well and when and where each thing could be eaten. The truth is that it is pretty complex but so very beautiful. Even the fruit here are holy.

When we got back to the hotel we had a camp wide scavenger hunt with all the kids. It was fantastic and highlighted how close all of the kids became over this past week. In truth it is pretty remarkable. The one thing that I hear constantly from everyone who comes to visit us is how great our NCSY JOLT Israel kids are. I couldn’t be prouder. 

We had a movie night last night and our kids manned the popcorn machine and nosh/drink station. The kids loved it and so did our kids. Besides for our JOLT Israel kids connecting with the Simcha LaYeled kids they are Mamesh connecting so closely to one another. I love seeing the new friendships. There is nothing that I enjoy hearing more than their requests for a later curfew so they can just spend time together!!! 

This morning we traveled to the Galil for a breathtaking hike called Nachal Amud. It was a beautiful walk down to the stream on the bottom. Even though it was hot out, the walk was worth it when we finally got an opportunity to jump into the cool water. We made our way back up the hill and had Shawarma and Schnitzle waiting for us. After the hike we went straight to Teveria and had an awesome boat ride on the Kinneret. One boat for the girls and one for the boys. The water was an emerald green and contrasted the pale yellow dry mountains around it. The contrast was in and of itself gorgeous.   

We returned back to the hotel and after dinner and a break we played “Minute to Win It” and ended with a dance party! The kids loved it. Some of our NCSY JOLT Israel kids are able to maintain high energy with the Simcha LaYeled kids indefinitely and others do it in doses. Everyone is different and that is respected and appreciated. 

A quick note about dehydration...I am very serious about the “no hat no water no hike rule”. Most kids are adhering to these hiking rules, the problem is that some kids are not taking care of their bodies and are not drinking enough or will take their hats off in the middle of hikes. There are two serious pieces to this. The first issue is the fact that some kids have a hard time following directions. This is both normal teenage behavior and it is also the result of conditioning (more on this at a later time). The other piece is that these few children are not taking care of their bodies and it is of a real concern to me. It would be a good idea to reinforce with your children, the importance of taking care of their bodies by constantly drinking, eating enough and wearing a hat while we hike. Heat emergencies are not a laughing matter.  A word to the wise is sufficient.

Tomorrow we have an awesome day planned with a large majority of the mornings activity rafting down the Jordan River!!! It is going to be great and the kids are super pumped. The energy is high and positive, the kids are having an awesome time and everyone is growing in their own unique way. I am beyond impressed with the fact that we are at 80% of our kids learning with someone on staff B’Chavrusa!! I hope you realize how amazing that figure is!!!  

I am happy to hear any feedback that you would like to share with me. In addition, if you want to discuss my observations of how your child is doing I am always down to have that conversation.

As always feel free to reach out for anything via email or Whatsapp.

I am looking forward to speaking tomorrow before Shabbos. 

With warmest wishes

-Rabbi Weinberg 

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