Sunday, March 17, 2013

Final day fun!

Tel aviv

   After a week in Jerusalem we looked forward to spending some time in Tel Aviv. Before entering Tel Aviv we could see something over the horizon very different from anything else we had seen prior during the trip, a modern city. Our first stop of the day was a visit to the Palmach Museum where we were guided by a current soldier serving in the IDF through a series of environments that included videos about the members of Palmach. We learned just how important the roles of the Palmach were to the birth of the state of Israel while walking through the most unique museum tour I'm sure most of us have not experienced. Upon entering downtown we went to Kings of Israel square, a once peaceful square turned the setting for a large scale political rally that ended in the tragic Assassination of the former Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin (1995). After leaving the square, it was lunch time! We got to eat shawarma and falafel while roaming the vast market place. After we went to Independence Hall, the place where on May 14th 1948, the deceleration of Israel's independence was signed. We had the privilege to sit in the very room where Ben Gurion announced that there was now a Jewish state. Did you know Israel's independence was declared on a Persian rug? Finally to end the day we went to the beach. Although it was too cold to swim, we still had a blast running on the sand, playing frisbee and dancing with odd scooter drivers.
   The sights and sounds of "sin city" were a nice change of pace from the normal tour.After the day in Tel Aviv we would like to say Viva Tel Aviv! A perfect end to an amazing week.

By: Sammy and Arthur

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Shavua tov!

"There are places I remember"

Before the trip we were asked to perform the mitzvah of reading from the Torah.  This request was a choice, and accepting that request eventually proved to be one of the most memorable moments throughout this trip so far. After learning my portion of the parsha, I had no idea as to exactly when or where I would be reading it. I was initially under the impression that we would read it in a conventional setting, but as I would soon find out it was somewhere much more special. We had our morning service outside at the Goldman Promenade. Here we could see the city of Jerusalem while we participated in this mitzvah. One by one we were called up to say our part after doing so we were asked to look up and take in our surroundings. At that moment while looking towards the city of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount I felt like I exactly where I was supposed to be. In that moment it was as if I was transported back in time and could see  the stories that I had read through out my years at religious school happening right in front of me. I had realized just how lucky I was to have the chance to read a story from the Torah so close to where it would have taken place.
Arthur edited by Sarah.S

Save a child's heart

After our 1 hour rest at the hostel, we boarded the bus to visit a house called "Save a child's heart". Everyone was introduced to the children from all over Europe and Africa who have serious heart problems. There were lots of activities to play with the children. We brought duct tape to make friendship bracelets, balloons to play with, and bunch of colouring books. After an hour or two, it was time for us to leave. So many emotions were going through when it was time to say goodbye. We took a big group picture of us and the kids. The visit was so embracing, it's just like holding something and never letting go. 
Slater Worth

My experience with three year old Sulha, was amazing. Even though she was not Jewish and did not speak English, we still had an incredible time together. Dove and I originally walked up to her after we were all introduced to the patients. She drew our attention to her because she was so lively and excited to see us. Throughout the time spent with her, playing with balloons and bubbles, unforgettable memories were made. She was so comfortable around us and we enjoyed every moment with her in the SACH house. Through hand motions and being ourselves, she got to have a fun Shabbat that I will remember forever. Her actions and enthusiasm made me realize how amazing this organization is. It helps children around the world get the heart surgery needed that they cannot receive in their home country. It is amazing that Sulha, along with all of the other patients, were able to get the medical treatment they needed. My afternoon with Sulha was an experience that turned out to be much more than I expected. It was exciting, fun, and I am glad that I was able to spend that time with her and the other patients. She was the sweetest girl ever, even though she didn't know my name. 
Jaclyn Flomen 

Friday, March 15, 2013

From remembrance to joy

What a day, what a day. Today was in my opinion the most important day in terms of our religious learning and experience. The holocaust is something we have been learning about for a very long time. Upon entering yad vashem I didn't know what to expect at all. We had been told briefly about what we would be experiencing but yad vashem is something you can only know if you see it with you're own eyes. Some might say that the western wall is more important that yad vashem, but I say there are 6 million reasons why yad vashem is more important. The thing that hit me the most, was when we entered the room of names. I didn't know so many people had been identified and still how orymany have not been. I have not understood the holocaust more clearly than I have today. I'm proud to know the story of these people.
Evan Chiang 

Wow, the experience we had tonight was one to remember! The first event on the schedule for tonight was the Shabbat service. We were given the opportunity to see how reform Israeli Jews celebrate Shabbat in a service which was very similar yet was very different from the way our services run in Toronto. The next planned event was a home made Shabbat dinner at Israeli's homes. We saw the whole family get together to celebrate the most peaceful time of week. The food was quiet different, but amazing! The Israelis welcomed us with open arms and made it very enjoyable. After the outstanding food, we recited many prayers and had a great time. Overall, this was an unbelievable experience that I will not forget!
Adam Flomen

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Say Cheese!

 Hearing about the story of Masada in a cistern at the top.

 First time at the Western Wall.
 Jumping for joy on a rooftop in the Old City.
 At an overlook of the Western Wall.
Displaying a rare find, an ancient coin, found by Gabriela, Hayley and Sarah at the dig in Beit Guvrin. was only two days!

Our legs can attest to the kilometers of history we have walked through, up, around, down, etc... We truly have been through thousands of years of history in just two days. Years of Jewish education underneath our feet and entering our hearts. Our teens report below:

Yesterday was a truly magical day in the old city of Israel. Going to visit the different landmarks that are the holiest places for three different religions was amazing. What made the most impact for us was seeing the Western Wall for the first time. We had the opportunity to write a note and put it into the wall. This was a very spiritual and meaningful experience for us. It was also cool to learn about the history of the wall and what it represents. We learned new things that we wouldn't have if it wasn't seen first hand. It was a very inspirational moment for the both of us and we expect to return here and apply this information in the future.
Jaclyn Flomen and Daniel Bleiwas

Our day in the old city of Jerusalem was remarkable. I found it amazing to see and pray at the Western Wall, it was the highlight of my day; however, seeing the other holy sites that are sacred to the Islamic and Christian religions was far more fascinating than I expected it to be. When I think of Jerusalem, Judaism comes to my mind and I tend to forget the other religions, but seeing the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and how that monument impacted the Christians showed me that Jerusalem means as much to any other religion besides the one that built it. A prime example of the powerful impact that we witnessed was the Christian people as well as most likely some non Christians touching the slab of stone on which Jesus was supposedly prepared for his crucifixion. The belief of touching the stone is to gain a holy  presence and I could see that some of the people doing this had been waiting all there life for that moment, just as I had been waiting to visit the Western Wall.
Sammy Bluestein

Today was a day to remember and will not mostly likely happen again. Although it could happen again it won't be with the same people. My high point of the day was climbing down the mountain and the amazing view off of Masada. The Dead Sea was crazy. I have seen pictures of it and it was nothing from what I saw and heard. The experience of the Dead Sea was something new not only for me but my peers.
Today has been the best day so far, and I am very excited to see what's on for tomorrow and for the days to come...
Alex Tangir

Our first fallafel of the trip was Wednesday in the Old City with some very tasty and authentic Israeli cuisine. Everyone enjoyed. More 'tasty' updates and pictures to come soon

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Day two really!

Shalom from Israel!

After a good night sleep, the second day was way better. Visiting the Ayalon Institute was an experience after hearing so much about it. I definitely imagined it differently. It was very cool to learn the history of the bullet factory and how the people operated it. We continued our journey to an archaeological dig where we went spelunking. I don't think anyone on our trip had ever done that before. Going through a candlelit cave that had low ceilings and tight spots was something we all enjoyed. Then we  got to excavate a site where we dug up pottery, bones, charcoal, and even copper. It was an amazing day.

Ok, we just met the Kol Haneshamah kids and I happened to see my good friend Netta whom I met at camp George two years ago. This is the first time I've seen her since then. The Israeli teens lead group games including 'the wind blows', 'sheep', and 'speed dating'. We ate pizza. I had a slice with corn topping for the first time. Now that was an interesting taste combination. All in all, we talked about our differences and realized we have more similaities than we do differences. This was a precious night, thank you for helping me come Temple Sinai. 
Love davrielle (dove).

On the bus we are getting to know everyone better, practicing our sentence of Torah  for Shabbat with Rabbi Michael and Cantor Katie and hearing all the  stories of Israel from Jeremy, our tour guide.  We are in good hands as our bus driver, Avi has a Toronto connection. His cousin owns Dr. Laffa! The drive today was particularly beautiful. This time of year has luscious greens and multi-coloured flowers.  

Chodesh tov! Happy new month of Nissan. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

First Day Fun!

We were already having fun and getting to know each other with the help of our Israeli emissary and teen mission counselor Ben Yael. Who could imagine we could have even better times after a tiring 11  hour flight to Israel. The excitement on the plane was powerful as the Tel Aviv coastline came into view. Our tour guide Jeremy talked us up to Jerusalem where we experienced the Tower of David and some interactive games on the grass behind the King David Hotel. What a full first day!  Here are a few reflections from our teens on our amazing beginning!

Coming into Israel was such an amazing experience for me. It was my first time and I couldn't have been more excited. The best moment was when we were first able to see the sea meeting with the country itself. I am so excited to spend the next week with all these amazing people and in this beautiful country. I couldn't have asked for a better start to the break.

Although the plane ride was a bit long, it was completely worth it to come to Israel.  The best moment was standing on the Tower of David and seeing the old city 

I knew I was In Israel when we landed and were getting off the plane I saw a giant group of Orthodox Jews huddled. I felt at home. -Leah 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Welcome to the Temple Sinai Teen Israel Trip Blog

Countdown to Israel:  5 days!

Check back here frequently for updates and photos from our trip.