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ILSI Update #4

Posted on 07/13/2011 @ 06:09 PM

Dear ILSI Parents and Families:

I hope that everything is going well for each of you at home. ILSI continues to see, do and experience so much in Israel. Here's the latest news from ILSI:

Today we headed straight to Tel Aviv, where everyone saw first-hand where Israel was founded as the Jewish State. This included touring Neve Tzedek (Tel Aviv's first neighborhood) and Independence Hall (the exact site of the signing of Israel's Declaration of Independence). They also enjoyed some shopping and downtime on Nachalat Binyamin, a large outdoor artist and crafts market that occurs twice a week in the heart of Tel Aviv.

In the late afternoon we went to Rabin Square and The Palmach Museum. Rabin Square is the location where Yitzhak Rabin, twice Prime Minister of Israel, Defense Minister, Commander in Chief during the Six Day War, was assassinated on November 4th 1995. The Palmach was the strike force of the Haganah, the pre-state underground defense organization which was eventually incorporated into the Israel Defense Forces after 1948. Though it existed for only seven years, the values which the Palmach promoted - mutual responsibility, assistance, sacrifice and contribution to the greater good - are legendary in the annals of local history and society. It was a very busy day of exploring the history of Israel and discussions around the Israel as a Jewish nation.

After such a long day, our evening was spent taking in some of the culture and arts that Tel Aviv and Israel has to offer. We experienced dinner on the streets of Yaffo (Jaffa) for an authentic Israeli meal of shakshuka at a well-known Israeli eatery aptly named "Dr. Shakshuka." After that, we headed back to campus to get some sleep and get ready for another big day tomorrow.

As a reminder, you can view the pictures from our trip here. There are over 900 pictures posted and more will be uploaded as the days go by.

Shalom from Israel! Todd Todd Kay Program Director, ILSI 2011


ILSI Update #3

Posted on 07/10/2011 @ 06:09 PM

Dear ILSI Parents, Family & Friends -

We have been having a great time in Israel. This weekend was our first Shabbat together and was a very special weekend. We spent Shabbat celebrating our being together in Israel for this amazing opportunity. Many of the teens led Shabbat services, while the Madrichim organized a number of in-depth and meaningful Shabbat electives. We had a wonderful time and tried to catch up on some much needed sleep.

Sunday morning we departed for our second visit to Jerusalem. This time we went to the Israel Museum and Davidson Center. The teens also spent time in the Jewish quarter dancing around and taking in the Israeli culture. Later that afternoon, we ventured south to the Ein Gedi. The teens were able to float in the Dead Sea before we went to our hotel for an early bed-time in preparation for Masada!

We woke at 3 am this morning to begin our day of Masada. We started our climb of Masada very early so we could see the sunrise from on top of this amazing Jewish monument. While on top, the educators took the teens around the different parts of Masada and gave an incredible lesson. We spent several hours dialoging and thinking about the choices our ancestors had to make thousands of years ago and how it has impacted the Jewish future. This was surely an experience of a lifetime!

By noon, we began our journey to Havat Nokdim (Bedouin tents) for an authentic Bedouin lunch, camel & donkey rides and discussion with the Bedouin leader. This was so much fun!

From there we headed back to AMHSI for dinner and to recap our big weekend/beginning of the week. The teens are all resting and getting sleep for our next journey on Tuesday to Tel Aviv. This promises to be another meaningful and fun day for ILSI 2011.

Please enjoy the photos we have uploaded and stay tuned for more.

Have a wonderful day, Todd


ILSI Update #2

Posted on 07/08/2011 @ 06:09 PM

Dear ILSI Parents, Family & Friends -

Hello again from Israel! I hope that you've all seen the first batch of pictures that were posted. The teens are having a great time and the group is forming a nice community. Our first days in Israel have been jam-packed and we hit the ground running for our first full day of learning and touring. Thursday morning, ILSI participants had their first seminar on campus and discussed the city of Jerusalem and history of Israel. Later in the afternoon, the teens did some great work and helped clean up one of the forest areas in Modi'in. We then went to Tel Aviv and enjoyed the early evening on the beach before heading into the city for a delicious dinner... just look at their faces!

Today, we did more learning, in and around Jerusalem. Our time there included: Touring the City of David (including a 3-D movie) and exploring Hezekiah's Tunnel, part of a water system that supplied the city, learning about the ancient Temple, and viewing the southern excavations. We also made our first visit to the Kotel, the Western or "wailing" wall considered the most holy and spiritual site of the Jewish people. We will visit the Kotel again during our travels.

Shabbat begins shortly and to prepare, many of the teens have volunteered to help lead creative services, Oneg Shabbat programs and Saturday electives. We will be spending our first Shabbat together on the AMHSI campus and we will begin connecting some of the dots from the first seminars and first Jerusalem experiences. We will relax, catch up on sleep and get ready for our first full week in Israel.

Again, everyone is doing very well and the staff here has been so impressed with the group so far. They've been wonderful about being on time and on task, and seem so eager to learn as much as they can. I know we are all looking forward to a restful and peaceful Shabbat.

We wish all of you back home a Good Shabbas and we'll be back in touch on Sunday.

Stay tuned for more updates... and all the best from Israel!

Shabbat Shalom - Todd


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