JOLT Israel
NCSY JOLT Israel!!! Absolutely Awesome Days #7,8,9
A Git Voch From Artzeinu HaKedosha, I hope this email finds you well. There is so much to tell you about the past three days. They have totally amazing and I want to bring you in to a bit of what we have been experiencing. Thursday was an early morning. We began our day at 5:30 with wake up then davening and on the bus to Yerushalayim. It was an important day for us because we were going to meet with our Yad Eliezer counterparts. I told the kids that we couldn't go to our Holy city and not visit the Kotel first….soooo….we made a quick pit stop at the Kotel and then made our way to the Bayit Vegan guest house for a meeting with our new friends from Zichron Menachem. It was a great day! As one would expect the beginning took some time for everyone to warm up to each other but by the time we finished lunch and did some binding in the Jerusalem forest together we were like one big family. Our most important take away from the time that we met was that what we are about to embark on is a true Chesed Shel Emes. We are going to be changing lives and in a real way and those changes will impact on us as well. After finishing with our counterparts we changed into our special shirts and went on our way to Bar Ilan for YOM NCSY. I have been to many such events in my life, but I must tell you, this was perhaps one of the most electrifying events I have ever been to the Ruach was literally palpable. I wish you could have seen the kids dancing and singing and being moved by the inspirational speakers. I am already counting down the minutes until next year! After daveing Maariv we left and headed back to Ohalo. We got home at about two in the morning and dragged ourselves to sleep. Wake up on Friday was late and we finished davening, ate a scrumptious breakfast and headed to Tzfat! What a magical city. I felt that it was important for the kids to have some free time in the artists quarter to buy gift for family and friends. After free time, our amazing Madrich Yoel took us around the old city of Tzfat and gave us an amazing tour of the famous sites. We then broke for lunch (delicious schnitzel sandwiches in fresh baguettes) and when finished headed back to the bus. On the way back to our hotel we stopped at the Kever of Rashbi where Rabbi Rosenfeld taught us a beautiful piece of Torah from the Zohar. Upon learning these holy words, we headed straight inside to the never for Mincha and some time to add our own personal Bakashos. We headed back to Ohalo and the kids had about two hours to get ready for Shabbos. After everyone showered and changed we took some beautiful pictures by the Kinneret and then davened an amazing Kabbalos Shabbos outside literally with the red mountains and blue water as our background. There happened to have been a group of young German Jews in the same place as us and they joined together with us for davening. I spoke to the kids about how awesome it is that we have the opportunity to share this experience with our brothers and sisters from Germany. I also told them how amazing it is that even though we met, the beauty of the Jewish people is that we feel so connected to each other, even upon meeting for the first time. I wish you all could have seen how beautiful the dancing and singing was….It made all the hard work worth it! After our Seudah we had an Oneg that lasted late in tot he night. It was actually our NCSY JOLT Israel family sitting around and doing shtick, laughing, singing and just having awesome chilled time together. The shtick may or may not have included a freestyle rap battle between me and Rabbi Rosenfeld. Shabbos we had a beautiful davening and then Kiddush. Following Kiddush we had learning with our respective Chaburah's and then lunch. We had several hours free time in the afternoon which I implored the kids to take advantage of. I explained to them how important it is for them to have their strength for this week. Thankfully, most of the kids took me up on it and took a nice long nap. At five, we davened Mincha and then had amendatory ask the Rabbi session with the kids. There were some pretty awesome questions that were asked. I love these kids by the way. Their questions are thought provoking and deep. I am really impressed with where so many of them are holding intellectually. We walked together to Seudah Shlishit and after that went up to the roof for a roof top ebbing overlooking the Kinneret. It was really something special. After a beautiful musical havdalah we had about an hour to get ready and then we all met for a massive bonfire and kumsitz. We chilled, played music, roasted marshmallows, threw random pieces of wood into the fire and then had a midnight delivery of burgers and fries which we devoured of course. Perfect for the night before a fast…. :-) It was a magical week and a perfect ending. We are all excited about our move to Kibbutz Lavi tomorrow and about beginning our camp. I told the kids that as good as the food has been here in Ohalo, they should just wait until we get to Kibbutz Lavi!!! The kids are pumped and so are we as a staff. It's going to be life changing for all of us and can't wait to share it all with you. I look forward to being in touch tomorrow. I want to wish everyone a Tzom Kal. An easy and meaningful fast. With warmest wishes -Rabbi Weinberg
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