JOLT Israel
Have A Great Shabbos- Thank you for this honor!!

Dear NCSY JOLT Israel Family!!

I hope this Erev Shabbos email finds you well. Everyone is at their host homes safe and sound but to be honest I miss them all terribly! We have become such a tight knit family that a Shabbos apart becomes very difficult. I have received messages from almost all of my JOLT Israelers and there is a common theme. They are having the summer of their lives and they truly feel like we have created a true family!!! Baruch Hashem!

Our time with Zam Zam came to end this past Wednesday morning and after over a week of fun we had to say goodbye. It was a difficult day for everyone. We went to Chaifa to go bowling and  jump on a massive indoor trampoline and after we got our last moments of laughter we said our goodbyes. There were tears and hugs, dancing and singing and overflowing love. I cried and laughed at the beauty that we created together. It is magical and it will stay with all of us forever!

The emails from parents of the Zam Zam kids keep pouring in. They are painful and beautiful, but more importantly full of thanks for everything that we did. It's interesting, no matter how much of an impact you think you will or did make, sometimes the things we do have the power to actually shake the heavens.  So many stories...

One boy from Zam Zam sent a text to some of our kids saying that he loved the camp so much. The reason being because when he is home his little brother who came to the camp as well, never smiles or laughs. For over a week he watched him laugh and play like a little child again.

Another child said to me "I hope my brother gets better, but if he doesn't I need to be part of this camp again!!" 

After leaving the Zam Zam kids we traveled up to the Golan to a special place called Avnei Eitan. It is a camp site that we happened to have all to ourselves. Our custom is to go straight to Avnei Eitan away from everyone and everything the day we end camp. We make a massive bonfire and we all debrief. We unload all of our emotions, thoughts and feelings about our time with our Zam Zam kids. Everyone speaks and has an opportunity to share. It was so important for all of us and it is a serious and profound moment as we take a step further to bonding together as a family.

Yesterday we had an awesome day rappeling at the Keshet cave. It was awesome.  After rappeling down about 30 meters we hiked back up the mountain. I was proud of many of the kids who conquered their fears. It is not an easy thing to do...

From there we went to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and dropped the kids off for their free Shabbos.

It's been an amazing 17 days. We continue to transition into stronger people, stronger Jews and more sensitive humans. I am so proud of each and every JOLT Israeler. I have seen tremendous growth in so many areas. No one has grown in the same areas and that's perfect. I am working hard to teach each one of our kids to embrace their individuality as well as to help facilitate their spiritual and religious development as Bnei and Bnos Torah as well as leaders! At this point in the summer and certainly in light of the great success that we are enjoying I would be remiss not to mention several people whose involvement is essential.

I am blessed to have the honor of leading this amazing trip with such amazing kids. However, it would not be possible without the hard work of my assistant director Rabbi Josh Rosenfeld whose wealth of knowledge and Torah, and dancing skills are beyond impressive in addition to so many other things.  Our amazing advisors Eliana, Avigayil and Fink as well as Ben and Jed  make the program what it is. Without their care, concern and constant involvement this program would never be as amazing as it is. They are gems and we are blessed to have them. Obviously, my holy wife Nechama deserves tremendous credit helping to deal with the many behind the scenes issues including but not limited to building the activities with our Israeli tour providers. Without her involvement we would never be able to do what we do. Our Israeli staff Yoel and Alon are beyond words amazing. They are 100% part of our program in very sense of the word and more importantly ensure that every need is met at all times. We love them. Lastly, none of this would be possible without David Cutler who is the life force of everything that is NCSY summer as well as his amazing staff!!

Thank you for entrusting your children to my care and giving me the honor of helping to take them to the next level. 

Wishing you a sweet and beautiful Shabbos from the holiest city in the world, may it be rebuilt and restored to its former grandeur speedily in our days. 

-Rabbi Weinberg


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