All three 2016 Programs, Chavayah (Emanuel), Emet Israel (BJE) and IST (Moriah and Masada) have now arrived in Israel. There were a few small initial disruptions with a pilot strike meaning BJE students took a couple of days longer to reach their destination. With minimal time for jet-lag, all the programs make their way to the Kotel.
With no time for jet lag, all the programs make their way to the Kotel. Those on IST have a tradition, where those students who have never visited the Kotel before get blindfolded before the big reveal. It is an emotional experience being at the holiest of sites, a place they have learned os much about for years. One of those students is Jenna Fisher.
“Whilst I was obstructed of my eye sight my other senses were heightened. I could hear the tzedakah boxes being rattled and the cool breeze passing through the passages and sending shivers down my spine. I was overwhelmed and completely taken aback by how spiritual the entire experience was. I was placed in line hand in hand with my best friends and Rabbi Benji enlightened the group with his powerful words of wisdom. The video began and my heart was racing, the blindfold was removed from in front of my eyes and I saw the Kotel, for the first time in my life.
Personally, I know that I am meant to try and express the feelings of the entire group who are a part of IST, but at that moment I was lost for words. The emotions which I was feeling, standing there, in front of the Kotel is something which cannot be put into words. I am so thankful.”
Since then, depending on the program, students have explored more of Jerusalem, been to Yad Vashem, hiking, swimming, basketball and much more.
While the three programs run separately, there are many similarities. The education side of things is as much about present day culture as it is about the history. One of the most talked about experiences is the food. The debates will rage for weeks to come about the best hummus, falafel, shwarma…the list goes on.
As the three programs look forward to a restful Shabbat, we thought we have put together a video featuring a collection of photos captured over the last few days. Remember to follow the Youth 2 Israel Facebook. We will have exclusive photos and videos to share from next week.