JOLT Israel
NCSY JOLT Israel!!! Erev Shabbos Special…Days #14 and 15

Dear Heilige JOLT Israel'ers and Parents,

Yesterday and today were another two successful days!!! I'm not gonna lie, this is definitely hard work. The kids are working hard, it is hot and we are outside a lot but the campers are having an amazing time and the chesed we are doing is really big. Let me give you all another insight into why what we are doing is so important. 


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We have a little boy with us whose 15 year old brother was diagnosed with cancer. He went into remission and I was told that due to the chemotherapy he developed Leukemia. His parents are divorced and his mother has been with either him or his brother every single day with no break for the last two and half  Years. Now, the other piece of information you need to know is that Zichron Menachem runs a lottery every year and this mother won a free trip to the spa for two people. However, because of the fact that she was always with one of her children she never had a chance to redeem this prize. Her son with cancer went with Zichron Menachem to London for the week and she was so excited to get a vacation for a few days, the first in two and a half years! But, Murphy’s law, this boy cries every night for his mother and he wanted to go home. His mother spoke to the psychologist who asked if he was having a good time besides at night when he misses her. She told the psychologist that it was absolutely amazing. He asked her if she trusted us, she said "200%". So he told her then let him remain with us her and she should go on vacation and not worry. This is Mamesh such an amazing chesed!! I used this story to be Mechazek our kids last night. I explained to them that when I go hiking, I always look straight ahead and put one foot in front of the other, I never look up to see how more I have to go. But every so often I will turn around and look behind me to see how far I have come. When it comes to experiences like this we also need our “Turn around and look back on the mountain” moment. It is a moment that we need to embrace as we take in how far we have actually come. This story highlights in real time, the level that we have achieved…. actual tangible chesed. These are opportunities to give people things that we take for granted, like a few days of rest and relaxation. 

Yesterday, was one of the more difficult days. We spent the day with our Zichron Meachem kids (ZamZam) but we didn't go anywhere. The enitr day was spent running stuff in house. We had an awesome schedule, everything was organized and the kids had an amazing time. One little boy said to one of our JOLT Israel'ers "I am having the best time of my life." I explained to the kids often but I will be reiterating it, that our ZamZam kids love every second because of the hard work that we put into it. Without hard work, and being organized and accounting for minutes and details, things get confusing and we wouldn't be able to deliver the product that we are giving them. Our activities ranged from swimming to art and Zumba, dodge ball and soccer. It was a flu day of activity capped off by an American style movie for the kids in Hebrew with popcorn and candy. We were all throughly exhausted by the end of the day and because of the fact that our kids have been staying up late and not getting enough sleep I put them all to sleep at 10:30. Surprisingly, most of the kids were happy about it.

This morning we woke up at 7:30, davened at 8:00 and then had breakfast. The food was amazing as usual and for those who are interested I had several slices of fresh and hot whole grain bread with cranberries and raisins, eggs, salad with feta cheese, sliced cheeses made fresh on the Kibbutz, Shakashuka, and a bunch of different fish. By the way, I am most impressed with the sophistication of many of our JOLT Israel kids in terms of the food that they eat. I love the fact that so many of them are open to trying new foods and experiences different flavors then what they are used to. I know it seems silly, but it speaks volumes to me as an educator. We loaded the busses and headed up North to Nahariyah where we did something called Tornado boating with our little ZamZAm's. Basically these are long rubber dingy's with seats. There is a massive motor on it and we fly through the water jumping over waves. It was actually really awesome. The warm, salty water of the Mediterranean spraying on us as we would fly in the air and then land back on the water. It was loads of fun. In the background was Rosh HaNikra and Lebanon. It was really beautiful.

After that we went to Kibbutz Metzuba where we had fresh baked pizza…again :-) It was so good! We all ate our fill and had a great time. Our kids and the ZamZam kids loved it. Hey, whats not to love!!

We just back to the hotel and the girls are going swimming and some of the boys are playing an intense game of pre-Shabbos basketball. At 6:30 P.M. we will be getting together for pre-shabbos pictures where we will all look beautiful and elated to spend another Shabbos in Artzeinu HaKodesh! Please make sure that you check out our Facebook page for our awesome video of the week!! Big thank you to Benji Kalmanowitz and Deena Drazin who worked on it together!!

Some of our kids came over to me today and asked if we can skip the free Shabbos and all of us spend it together. Makes you feel kinda good, that we created a family of kids that really, truly like each other. I hope you are getting a real sense of what we created in this short amount of time. I know you are seeing the pictures and reading the emails but in real life it an experience that is above and beyond! The kids are using words like family regularly now! It's amazing! They are even asking for reunions in the middle of the year! This is something special….

We have an awesome Shabbos planned that includes games, activities, singing, playing and of course resting!

I want to take the opportunity to wish you all a Git Shabbos and a sweet Shabbos. Thank you for entrusting your children to me, Nechama, Rabbi Rosenfeld, Deena, Kara, Rebecca, Jack and Michael. We love them all and are blessed to have the next three weeks to continue bonding and growing with them.

Looking forward to filling you in Motzei Shabbos

With Warmest Wishes

-Rabbi Weinberg

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