JOLT Israel
Erev Shabbos Day #2

Dear NCSY JOLT Israel Family,

A Gitten Erev Shabbos!!

Today was awesome. We began with an early Shachris, followed by a delicious breakfast with fresh salads, fruits, cheeses, fish and an assortment of hot foods including pastas, eggs, blintzes and sautéed vegetables. After eating our fill we loaded the buses and traveled to the old city where we started in Ir David. We learned about Judaism during the time of the 1st and 2nd Beis HaMikdash. We got a better sense of our location and why the area where we were was so desirable. From there we made our way to Chizkiyahu's tunnel which is a 533 meter long water tunnel system. It was dug under the rule of Chizkiyahu during the 8th century B.C.E to redirect the Jerusalem water source and protect it from being utilized by the Assyrian army. 

This group was the first one EVER in which every single JOLT Israel'er went in the tunnel! We sang and walked in the dark for a bit. It was a bit scary for some of us but we managed to move out of our comfort zones! I am so proud of all of my JOLT Israel'ers.

We walked out of Ir David and made a stop at the Kotel. It was really meaningful for so many of us to run our hands over the smooth stones and offer a personal prayer. We have three kids that have never been to Israel before and that did NOT go unnoticed. We danced and sang with them to the Kotel plaza. Everyone watched as we jumped together with them singing V'Shavu Banim and Yibaneh HaMikdash! It was an amazing sight to behold. 

From the Kotel we gave the kids some free time in Machaneh Yehuda. We gave each JOLT Israel'er some money so they could buy the lunch of their choice. It is truly an experience to walk through the shuk on an Erev Shabbos. The hustle and bustle and store keepers screaming at the top of their lungs trying to sell their wares. It was mamesh Holy Chaos!!!

After Machaneh Yehuda we came back to the hotel and davened an early Mincha and we are now relaxing and getting ready for our first Shabbos together in Artzeinu HaKedosha. We have a packed Shabbos with awesome activities, singing, programs and speakers. Before Shabbos we will be spending time taking pictures together which always becomes a big highlight of the summer. 

The kids are doing great. They are tired and still becoming friends with people. We are slowly breaking down cliques and people are learning how to navigate these situations in a healthy and safe way. Everything takes time and everyone needs to trust me and the process. Our advisors are beyond amazing and really connecting with the kids. I am so blessed to spend my summer doing this. It really is an honor for me to give this experience to your children. 

As always please feel free to be in touch with me about anything. I am here for you all the time as I am for your children. 

The sun is slowly making its way down in the West and I want to wish you all a beautiful and sweet Shabbos. May we be blessed to see greatness from each of our children and may this first Shabbos be the first of many Shabbosim that your children, and all of us here, will spend in our holy land in good health and happiness.

With warmest wishes

-Rabbi Weinberg 


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