The last few days on ILSI have been jam packed with tours of Tel Aviv, the Israel Museum, and Yad Vashem. The group spent time in Tel Aviv, starting with tours of south Tel Aviv where they learned about socioeconomic discrepancies and visited Independence Hall. Thursday was a day of exploring history as ILSI toured the Israel Museum and saw the Dead Sea Scrolls, then went to Yad Vashem/ The conversations in the discussion groups have been getting intense, as subjects like peace and equality push the teens to questions their beliefs and deepen their convictions.
What a great weekend ILSI had! The group began at the Bedouin tent with camel rides, an experience our teens will never forget, and one that was immortalized in too many camel "selfies" to count. From there we set out on a morning of hiking and we visited an army base in the afternoon. It was an early night on Monday, as Tuesday morning the teens had a wake up was at 3am to allow us to get to Masada for sunrise. The teens were mesmerized as they stood at the top watching the sun peak over the horizon. ILSI is now up in the Galilee, with more adventure to come!
Our teens brought in Shabbat together with Kabbalat Shabbat service overlooking the sunset. On Sunday morning we began our trip south towards the Negev to stay at a Bedouin camp for the night. Along the way , ILSI learned about Bar Kochba and visited the house and grave of David Ben Gurion. The teens are now buzzing with ideas of independence and what it means to fight for their rights!
Friday, July 18 - "Being in Israel during such a crucial time in the nation's history has made this trip unforgettable. I have never felt so connected to the Jewish people or to our homeland. I am eternally grateful to BBYO for providing me with this incredible experience and to those who support and protect the state of Israel."- Kyle Price, Westchester Region. Read more!
Monday, July 14 - Today was definitely one of my favorite days thus far on ILSI!! Although I slept a little bit later than I should have after a late night of watching the World Cup with my friends, I still started the day off right with a delicious balanced breakfast. Read more!
Friday, July 11 - As the worldwide Jewish community turns its attention to what's happening in Israel, we are thinking about our nearly 350 teens who are visiting Israel right now - many for the first time - with us. Read more!
Thursday, July 10 - After another beautiful morning for us, rising to the shimmering Kinneret and sweet, warm air, we set out for a serene cemetery on the shores of the lake that shares its name. Read more!
Wednesday, July 9 - What a busy few days we have had! Days filled with learning about Ben Gurion at his home and now museum in the Negev, followed by waking up at 3 am to watch the Sunrise over Masada and hiking to beautiful waterfalls. Read more!
Monday, July 7 - We awoke in the tents and headed out to go hiking in the Negev with beautiful sights and unique animals like ibexes. Screaming our names at the top of the desert mountains, we felt on top of the world as we stared into the large expanse of the holy land. Read more!
Sunday, July 6 - We had a wonderful Shabbat in the Hills of Jerusalem. As the teens walked out to a breathtaking sunset over the rolling hills of Jerusalem they sang ma tovu, a prayer from this weeks parsha about how beautiful it is to be together. Read more!
Friday, July 4 - Although we came together as a united group for the first time on Wednesday, we've already formed a close knit community on this journey together. Two nights ago over 130 teens were united and introduced to their peers, followed by an introduction and orientation led by our enthusiastic staff members. Read more!
During the past two days, the BBYO National Teen Delegation has gained a real understanding of Israel's culture, history and challenges. "The past two days served as a microcosm for the entire trip," Josh Freeman said. "Yesterday at the Yom Hazikaron ceremony, we experienced a sadness like no other, as the day serves as Israel's most somber day; and then today, we celebrated Israel's freedom in the most amazing way possible on Ben Yehudah Street. The past two days have shown me how important it is to have Israel as my homeland."
Sunday, May 4 - We have been through a lot the last few days and coming out of the darkness of the Holocaust in Poland to the Hope and Pride of Israel has been a real journey for all of us. It has been amazing how much we were able to accomplish in such a short time!
When I was young I found out that my grandmother was Jewish, but I didn't know how to be Jewish. My parents do not practice Judaism. When I was little I started to notice symbols that were Jewish like the hamsa, Star of David, and menorah. I was always asking questions about Judaism, but my mother did not know the answers.
Today, we visited arguably the two most emotionally and physically draining sites in all of Israel, covering everything from the horrific events of the Holocaust to the heroic tales of Michael Levin... Shadowing the day in a somber mist.