JOLT Israel
NCSY JOLT Israel!!! Absolutely Awesome…Erev Shabbos and also some reflections…

Dear Heilige Parents and NCSY JOLT Israel’ers,

I hope this email finds you well. So we are on our free Shabbos and our kids are safely by family and friends, enjoying a little down time. I must say that I am happy for everyone but it is truly bittersweet. I miss all my JOLT Israel’ers and more importantly they all miss one another! When you spend so much time with people, learning together, growing together and bonding together it is difficult to split up. The only comfort is that Sunday morning we will be back together. J We have an amazing next two weeks coming up and I am looking forward to spending it together as the one big family that we have created. 

Yesterday was a great day with a little impromptu programing. We had an early wakeup , davened and packed the bus for our free Shabbos. We all loaded the bus and then one member of our extended JOLT Israel family lost his Tefillin. We spent a while looking for them, with many of our kids helping us search far and wide. Some of our staff actually dove into the dumpster to try and find them. High and low, we searched everywhere until they were found. It wasn’t exactly the most exciting find because it ended up being in a hidden compartment in his backpack. However, all that being said, the most important part of that experience was the fact that it solidified us as a group in the sense that something, which was of personal sentimental value to one person, became important to all of us. In addition, as Nechama wrote to all of our JOLT Israel kids “This taught us that leaders do for others what they may not necessarily do for themselves….kinda like parents J” This was such an important lesson for all of our kids to see. I am proud of those of our JOLT Israel’ers that helped in the search and rescue of the Tefillin. I really believe that this was a true teachable moment.

We ended up going straight to Latrun and got the chance to learn a bit more about the "Shiryon" or armored tanks corps of the Israeli Army. We met with soldiers, saw a quick film about it and had a chance to walk through a museum of actual tanks and their evolution throughout the history of Israel. After leaving Latrun we went straight to Jerusalem. We gave the kids a little over an hour of free time on Ben Yehuda and we gave them some spending money as well for food.  

After everyone had time to buy food, gifts and tons of iced coffee we went together for an excellent presentation from Stand With Us. I felt it was important for our kids to learn about the importance of Israel advocacy. The tides of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are one and the same and are shifting towards very unhealthy levels in America, especially on college campuses. Our children MUST be prepared to deal with these issues. They need to be fluent in the arguments, they need to understand the debates and be clear on the facts. The kids were tired but were excellent! I was very impressed with their involvement in the lecture and the level of respect that they treated this topic with. Rabbi Rosenfeld and I will be continuing this conversation with the kids and we will be having a session with them at some point this week.

From our Stand With Us presentation, we went to our drop off’s and all the kids got to their respective homes in an organized and orderly way. We will be seeing them all again on Sunday morning and as you know I am looking forward to seeing them again for another few amazing weeks.

I can honestly say that at this midpoint in the summer we have done some amazing things! In addition, to watching our kids evolve throughout this summer; we changed lives and did tremendous acts of Chessed for entire families. I am proud of all of our participants, I am grateful to you the parents who have entrusted us with assisting you in facilitating their social, emotional, spiritual and religious development. I am so grateful to our advisors, without whom we wouldn’t be able to do the amazing things we do. They are each amazing in their own rights and together they are priceless.  I am grateful to Nechama for working so amazingly hard behind the scenes to help put together an amazing program and deal with many of the little details that need to be taken care of in order for things to work. Her ability to think on the fly has been so essential when we dealt with the small heat related issues. I am deeply grateful to Rabbi Rosenfeld our assistant director for being an amazing powerhouse of energy, structure and non-stop humor. His interest in the success of each and every child on our program is truly impressive. I am grateful to Yoel and Yehuda our Israeli Madrichim, who are beyond words. They are all about JOLT Israel in everything they do and our family would not be complete without them. I am of course grateful to David Cutler for his close friendship and for being awesome, supportive and Kulo Tov. Of course, none of this would be possible without Hashem consistently showering His infinite love and goodness upon all of us.

I will end with the following. Many parents have sent me emails asking what they can do to help with recruitment for next summer for JOLT Israel. Several parents have also asked me about whether they can host parlor meetings this coming year. I am so very touched by the outpouring of love and appreciation of this amazing summer. I will be sending an email next week talking a little bit more about what everyone can do to help, so sit tight and I will let you know. But thank you really from the depths of my heart.

Hashem should continue to bless us all with good health, amazing fun, good friends, continued success, GREAT FOOD and maybe a little less heat J

Wishing you all a beautiful sweet Shabbos from our holy undivided city of Yerushalayim.

With warmest wishes

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-Rabbi Weinberg     

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