JOLT Israel
NCSY JOLT Israel Day #3,4,5,6,7

Dear NCSY JOLT Israel Family,


So many incredible things have happened since we spoke last and I want to fill you all in. As you can imagine it has been very busy and amazing few days! Shabbos was beautiful! Friday night we had our own dining room and the dancing and singing was Gevaldig! We followed a delicious meal complete with Sushi, with some ice breakers. The kids were doing an amazing job of meeting and learning about each other but they were really waiting for a more formal ice breaker. It was fantastic and helped them learn about each other in a more substantive way. We ended the evening with some free time to hang out. Shabbos day was really great. After davening we had Kiddush, followed by Round Robbin 5 Minute Divrei Torah. We went to lunch, davened Mincha and had Menucha. We had the Zechus of having Rabbi Ari Cutler, RAM in Yeshivat HaKotel and Rabbi Nosson Rich, Rebbe in Torat Shraga spend Shabbos with us. Rabbi Rich gave an introductory shiur on the importance of Chesed and what that looks like. It was an important first conversation for us to have with the kids. Motzei Shabbos we went out on the town for a little and gave the kids time to roam Ben Yehuda to buy some souvenirs and food (the big sellers were Pizza Hut and Moshikos)


Sunday morning, we davened, packed the buses and headed out for our first real hike, Nachal Amud. It was beautiful. I told the kids it was about a 4 on a scale of 1-10 in terms of difficulty, but it was tough for some of them. I am committed to teaching our kids the importance of believing in their ability to do things they never thought they could, to follow through on tasks and to take in the amazing feeling of accomplishment. The most rewarding feeling is to look out at the beautiful and holy view knowing that we climbed and walked and traversed over that majestic rocky terrain. After finishing the hike we went to a beautiful lookout at the foot of the Golan, overlooking the Kinneret. We spoke about the power of the Kinneret on a physical and spiritual level. It was so inspiring as we inhaled the clear air and watched the sun slowly set in the West causing the water of the Kinneret to sparkle like a million diamonds. We made our way to Chispin which will be our home for the next week and a half. After Dinner we had our Chaburah learning and the kids had free time to relax.


I am really happy to say that the kids are branching out and breaking into new social circles. For some it’s more difficult than others but that’s ok, everyone in the right time. The one thing I would very strongly suggest is to tell your kids to chill with whatsapping and calling home at the rate and frequency that they do. I cannot stress how unhealthy it is. The less time they spend time being in touch with you the more time they will actually learn how to have meaningful relationships with other kids be looking at them and speaking to them as opposed to using social media as a platform. As parents who grew up before social media and cell phones we take the skills that we have for granted. Don’t take it for granted. What I say is in your child’s ultimate best interests. If you have an individual question about what I just said or need clarification, please reach out.


Monday we had an AWESOME day of leadership training and pure fun. We began the day with raft building on the Kinneret. The kids broke up into groups and had to build a “seaworthy” raft with empty oil drums, bamboo and string. It was amazing to see the level of creativity and team work. The best part of course was taking it out and testing it. On a personal note, all my years of watching survivorman and Man Vs. Wild came in really handy…Nuff said! From there we went to lunch in Teveria at EL Gouchos. Typically Israeli “Al HaEish” Fresh hot Pita, grilled chicken and meat, Israeli salads. I am hungry just thinking about it!  After lunch we went to Tzfat and gave the kids free time to explore the shops in the artists quarter and hear about the history of this holy city. Some of the boys came with me and Yonatan (one of our amazing advisors) to the Arizal’s Mikveh and then to the Beis HaChaim. Just for your knowledge the way we worked the Mikveh was I went separately while everyone waited outside as did Yonatan. As is appropriate and according to highest level of responsibility and Tznius. We davened by the Kvarim of Chana and her seven sons, Rebbe Yitzchak of Tulchin (the son of Rebbe Nosson of Breslov), The Arizal and Rabbi Yosef Cairo. After leaving Tzfat we took the kids to Katzrin and brought them to one of my favorite supermarkets in the country!! They stocked up on Israeli Nosh and fruits and we headed back to Chispin. Later that evening after dinner, we met with the Simcha Layeled staff to discuss what Simcha Layeled is and why the chesed that we are doing is so important! We learned skills on how to deal with certain situations and general techniques.


Tuesday we had an optional hike to Nachal Kziv. 28 of our kids woke up at 3:30 and made their way to the bus for this amazing hike. We davened in the forest and then started our 10 Kilometer hike. Imagine walking through a winding valley stream surrounded by wild fig trees and grape vines, mint, lavender and wild raspberry bushes. It was wild!!! We even had one of our kids schlep a massive watermelon down for all of us to eat! We sang, learned Torah, fell, laughed and splashed each other in the water. It was awesome. The kids who stayed back were able to sleep late and catch up on the rest that they were missing. We who went on the hike came back at about 1:40, ate lunch and then we all relaxed in advance of our big day today! Last night we went through process and procedure for when the kids come today. We spoke about things that we should say and things we shouldn’t say and a review of general technique.


All of this brings me to this morning!! We are ready to go. The kids are psyched. We are dancing and singing, everyone is high energy and we are waiting for the kids to come which is about 40 minutes away. This is the moment we have waited for. This is the transformational experience that so many of the kids have been hoping for. It is an opportunity for them to move out of their respective comfort zones and change the lives of these children. One of the things that I spoke to the kids about was the fact that while the kids that we are dealing with seem intact and totally fine, the bottom line is that they really the most vulnerable in their family structure because they are often times fending for themselves. Our camp is designed for them to focus on themselves and be focused on. Just Simcha 24/7..Can there be anything better or deeper or more cleansing for the soul!!!


I will IYH be back to my daily write ups, but in the event that we go a few days without speaking please understand that it is not for lack of want, but rather me being extremely busy trying to make it all amazing and provide for your children and give them the BEST.SUMMER. EVER!!!! Please make sure that you are checking our Facebook pages for regularly uploaded pictures as well as our blog.


If you need to reach out to me at any time, please do so. I am here for you just like I am here for your children. In addition, our advisors are simply amazing and without them we wouldn't be able to do any of this! They are the lifeblood of what we do and their commitment to making this amazing for each and every child is beyond inspiring. Our Israel staff is simple fantastic, Yoel and Alon, simply said the  best of the best! It goes without saying that all the little details that are so important for our daily function are taken care of by my Eishes Chayil Nechama! Ashreichem to everyone and to all of you. May we be blessed to work together to give our children the skills and experiences to be next leaders of the Jewish people!!


Wish us luck we start our journey today. All of our preparation comes down to this! My NCSY JOLT Israel kids are going to rock it out of the park!!! I believe in them!


With Love and Bracha from the holy land and Our one true home,


Rabbi Dr. Noam Weinberg

Director, NCSY JOLT Israel

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