Monday, July 24, 2017

Our Last Day in Israel!

July 23, 2017
By: Amanda Fruman

Coming to you live from Ben Gurion Airport: We woke up this morning, finished our last minute packing, and weighed everyone's suitcases to make sure no one broke the 50lb limit. Once everyone had redistributed their things to other suitcases and everyone's bags zipped, we headed to breakfast. You could tell it was the end of the trip when Jeremy ran out of clean shorts and came to breakfast with a shirt wrapped around his legs as makeshift pants; "the t-short". We then packed up the bus and headed to Haifa. We saw the Baha'i Gardens. It is one of the holiest shrines for the Baha'i people (the youngest monotheistic religion in the world), and where their first prophet is burried. In Haifa we also explored a culturally diverse minority in Israel, the Druze. It was so cool to listen to them speak and learn about such a small population of Israel. Did you know that Druze only make up less than 1% of the Israeli people? They served us a traditional lunch and it was very tasty! We ate rice, tahini covered meat, and We then hopped back on the bus to go rock climbing. This was such a fun way to end the trip, and I was so impressed that everyone who was able to tried even if it was scary. At this point it began to hit me how close I was to leaving Israel, and these amazing 18 people who have become family to me. We all made promises to hang out after Diller. We jumped back on the bus, picked up a quick dinner, and headed straight for the airport. We said an emotional goodbye and safe travels to Emily our JC as she is on her way to Greece, and to Talia Ilana Miller, and Abigal who extend their trip in Israel. Going through customs and baggage was as smooth as possible and now we are hanging out waiting for our flight to board. I am so thankful for Diller and this amazing opportunity. I have truly realized how once in a lifetime it was been for me. Not only has it connected me to Jews from all corners of the world, but it has allowed me to feel comfortable bringing my Jewish values and traditions home to my everyday life. We miss all of our families so much and we can't wait to see you in a few short hours!! 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Shabbat Shalom!

July 21, 2017
By: Sara Buchdahl

Today is Friday July 21st in Israel. This morning we woke up early to go from Tiberias where we are staying, to Dir el assad which is located farther north.
The drive was beautifully filled with views of mountains and the ocean. 
The town that we went to is an Arab town and we had the experience of meeting with some of the kids that live there. We discussed with a Jewish Israeli who works in the area about the cultural differences and challenges that rise in the community. We then went into groups with the children and talked about life as an Arab Israeli compared to our experiences as American Jews and Israeli Jews. It was incredible to open our minds and hear the perspectives of people that we do not normally get the chance to hear from. The connections that we made have changed my views in a positive way on how life is different as well as similar to ours and the Ashkelon group. 
We then went to the Sea of Galilee and had a nice lunch and free time to swim in the water and relax. 
Now we are off to welcome Shabbat together as a Baltimore Ashkelon partnership. Shabbat shalom!

Ashkemore Travel Days!

July 20, 2017
By: Ilana Miller

Today marked the last day of Congress, and we all woke up early to say goodbye to the friends we'd made who stayed at our kibbutz, from Johannesburg (South Africa), Metrowest (New Jersey), Toronto, Eilat, Rishon-Lezion, and Beit Shemesh. After leaving the kibbutz, we ate hamburgers for lunch and then kayaked on the Jordan River. Post-kayak, we headed to the holy city of Tzfat, where we did a little bit of tchotchke shopping and then ate dinner, where most of us tried Yemenite grilled cheese. After dinner, we learned about how the prayers in torahs and mezuzah are written through videos, a quiz game, and even a 3-d ride. We then were able to try scribe writing ourselves using quill pens and parchment: it's harder than it looks! As our day came to a close, we stopped at our hostel near the Sea of Galilee and fell asleep. 

Putting Our Leadership to the Test

July 19, 2017
By: Howard Silverman

 Howdy y'all and welcome to my blog!

Today is the 19th of July. We arose bright and early on the Gadot Kibbutz and had a swell breakfast full of the classic Israeli salads and moist sunny-side-up eggs. Soon after we split into small groups full of people from different places like Israel, South Africa, and of course the good ole USA (and New Jersey also). In these groups we tested our leadership abilities in numerous, strenuous activities.

Next we broke for a full and hardy lunch. 
Most ate quickly and then a great and long war broke out almost immediately: The Great Water War of 2017.  Everyone was wet but it was a good kind of wet.  For example, charlie was no longer dry after the lunch.  We then dried off in the sun fairly quickly.   

After our nice and wholesome break, the original, multinational groups reconvened to reflect on the activities and ourselves. We spoke about how our own leadership qualities changed over the course of Diller and our lives.

After this enjoyable talk with the new group we split up to get ready for the closing ceremony of Congress. 

The dance: 
Many wore casual clothing, however the true men of diller wore a more fancy, higher class type of outerwear: Hawaiians. All of the diller teens convened to thank everyone involved in the coordination of Congress. Once the thank yous were completed, the largest, most international, Jewish dance party began. We jumped, we shimmied, we twirled, we fist pumped, we dabbed, we mosh pitted, and most of all, bonded through the music. 

This is the completion of the day. 

Congress Day 2

July 18, 2017
By: Abigail Lerman

Today we met with the fellows from Cape Town and talked to them about our impact projects. We also brainstormed as a group different service projects that we could do to serve the needs of different communities. Later all the diaspora Jews gathered to hear how to put our newly learned skills from Diller into action through being a JC, student volunteer or involving ourselves in other organizations we are passionate about. It was great being with all of the Diller communities!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Congress Day 1

July 17, 2017
Charlie Shapiro


We Arrived at congress and we were so excited to have our first day surrounded by friends and Jews from all over the world. We had an opening meeting. We were broken into random groups from all over the world for a lesson and conversation about where we are all from, and how that affects where we are now. We had a large map on the floor and we each put a sticker where we live. Then we put stickers with a different color where our parents are from, and all the way to grandparents.  We all discussed what connects us and said why our family moved from our past countries. 

We all tried our hardest to converse and make new friends during our lunch break. They played popular music from all the cultures. We each had a motivational speaker we were assigned to to help inspire our Judaism. For instance I, Charlie Shapiro, had the president of Tel Hai college. We then went back and had a Jewish journey discussion. We each had random groups were our job was to pretend to be a Jewish family and we had to answer real life questions about our family relating to our Jewish identity. We ended our day with a maagal at our kibbutz and free time with the other cohorts at our kibbutz.

Arriving to Global Congress

July 16, 2017
By: Lexi Silverman

I've created such a strong bond with Shir's family that it broke my heart having to leave without a final goodbye on the morning we left for Congress. But it isn't a final goodbye it's just a see you later (להתראות).I know I'll be back one day in Israel so I can see all of Shir's family's energetic children and kind husbands. Shir's family has made such a remarkable impact on my life in ways I never thought they would. With open arms and hearts they accepted me into their home and made me part of their family.  Of course the language barrier was hard at times but we overcame words with actions of love and laughter. 

After a few hour drive with a couple of pit stops, we made it to Kibbutz Gadot where Johannesburg, Toronto, Metro West, and their partnerships met us. We were greeted by a whole variety of people from all over the world at our opening ceremony where we ate, socialized and networked. We then went back to our Kibbutz had a short magal and time to network. It was an energetic, amazing, and eyeopening day, and I'm so excited to see how the rest of Global Congress plays out.