Friday, July 13, 2018

Israeli Culture Day in Ashkelon, July 12

Today was culture day!! All but 3 of the Israelis were taking their Bagrut, which is an important final exam for school, so our group was small. First, an instructor came to our center and taught us how to make lots of different Israeli foods: falafel, shakshuka, pita, israeli salad, and some weird pouches with halavi in them. It took awhile but it looked very professional in the end and was delish. Then, we drove to a place where they taught us how to make candles. It was cool to decorate them and everyone had creative styles for their candle. We also got a tour of the facility which is a day camp for youth interested in technology and graphic design. When we returned to the volunteer center we had lunch and did an activity where we made posters about what israel means to us. The day ended early and we went back to our host homes to get ready for the closing dinner. At the restaurant we gave speeches, took pictures, and just celebrated a great week!! Then we did a small activity, watched a slideshow of the week, and had free time.
Written by: Hannah Merwin

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Army Day, July 11

The theme for our day today was army day. We started off the day being split into two different groups. Two members of the army day committee became our drill sergeants and sent us into a frenzy of drills. We had to stand in different formations, run, crawl, or walk when instructed, and respond to everything with an enthusiastic “yes, sir!”. After sprinting back and forth for a bit, we returned to the volunteer center to discuss IDF values. We debated on what we thought were the ten core values of the IDF, and, after this intense discussion, we decided on 10 of them. For the most part, we were correct. We spoke to 3 Israeli soldiers about their experiences and then, because we missed the physical activity of the morning so much, we had a lesson with a Krav Maga specialist. We learned a lot of really cool moves and debatably life-saving techniques. Overall, we had a fun and learning-filled day.
Written by: Daryn Levine

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Community Day in Ashkelon, July 10

Dear Parents,
Community week is flying by. Today, the day leaders planned a day revolving around community service. We began our morning at Park Baltimore; a park built by volunteers from both Baltimore and Ashkelon. At the park, we were privileged to hear from 2 Diller Alum who spoke to us about their connection to park Baltimore and about their Diller experience. Then, we continued our day at the Beit Hamitnadev (the volunteer center) where we played various games connected to the theme of the day: community service. After, we walked to a school for children with special needs and hung out with them. We had the opportunity to speak with them for a while and to solve a word search with them. It was so rewarding to see the impact we made on these children. We then had a delicious falafel lunch and took a bus to a home for girls that could no longer live with their families to help beautify it. We worked together to clean the lawn and paint some of the walls within the house. Lastly, we visited a small gallery that celebrated Ashkelon’s 70th anniversary with a unique exhibit. By this time, we were all exhausted  from the packed day but were fascinated to learn more about the history of this city. We finished off the night with free time to eat dinner with our host family and spend quality time with them.
That’s all for now,
Meira Kidorf

Welcome to Ashkelon! July 9

Today, Monday June 9th, we had the first full day of Community Week. The theme of the day was Summer in Ashkelon. In the morning we met at the Volunteer Center for a few activities. We were split up into groups to make posters about what summer meant to us. We were then sent on an Amazing Race style scavenger hunt all around Ashkelon. It ended with us at the Marina Mall. There we ate lunch and then walked to a surf shop on the beach. We were in the ocean for a few hours while getting lessons. We all had so much even if some of us couldn’t stand up. We ended the day with a Pizzor dinner at the Marina. Pizzor dinner is when we are given a certain amount of money to get dinner in the area we are in. We had so much fun today!
Written by: Ben Katz

Monday, July 9, 2018

Thank you Sarah for today’s blog post, July 8

Yesterday was both a meaningful and exciting day. We started off the day by saying goodbye to our new international friends and toured Yad Vashem. Our tour guide shared meaningful stories and important historical information with the group. Next, we had a quick lunch and then walked along a path to Har Hertzl, a military cemetery. We learned about Theodore Hertzel, Yitzhak Rabin, and many other important Israeli figures. Finally, we made our way to Ashkelon where we were reunited with our Israeli matches during a fun and exciting opening dinner!
Written by: Sara Himelfarb

Shabbat Shalom! July 6

Diller families, friends, and any other acquaintances- I, Bradley Dean Harrison, am going to give you an informed and interesting, yet short and simple, recap of the events that transpired this past Friday July 6th.
We began our morning as we had each of the following two days.
We awoke to the beautiful Mediterranean sun in our eyes as the world was calling to us, and the Maccabim youth house was kicking us out. Having packed the night before, because that is what responsible young adults do, we were ready to get our day underway.
First, we went to meet with a representative from the Women of the Wall. There, the representative told us about the struggles of women at the Kotel and how they fight for the right to read Torah at the Kotel etc.
After this, we headed over to Ramat Rachel where we met with the fellows from all of the international diller communities. There we had opening ceremonies, socialized, and met tons of new people. This culminated in kaballat Shabbat where people could choose from multiple options but each one seemed to be a good time. Friday was a great day and a lot was done here in the holy land.

Alex explains our busy day in Jerusalem, July 5

Today we went to the old city. We saw King David’s tomb and the room that held the Last Supper. After, we travelled to a Charedi neighborhood. We toured the neighborhood with our tour guide Tammy, who had great knowledge about the community. After touring we stopped in a woman named Ruth’s house. There, we had a workshop with her where we learned to make challah. We asked her questions about the way she and her community live. A couple of details I found particularly interesting was that Charedi women must wear their sheitals at all times, and that young adults get set up for marriage by Shidach dates. Usually, they go on about 3 dates before they decide to get married, and they’re not much older than we are during this time. Finally for dinner we went on a culinary tour of the foods in Israel. We were able to try many different options including cheese bread, ice cream and empanadas. To end the day we had free time at the shuk. We had such a wonderful day.
Written by: Alex Cohen