Wow. It is so hard to believe that we are starting our third and final week in Israel. The Israel Summer Seminar has completely flown by and everyone is doing extremely well and are happy!
I am updating the blog from my room in the hotel that I am staying at in Ashkelon and it is a very strange feeling not being around the best 20 teens and 2 staff anyone could ever ask for. I know understand how my parents feel whenever I leave them for some time. As much as I am looking forward to sleeping tonight... I already miss being with the teens and I look forward to seeing them and hearing about their adventures in the morning.
Here is a short update, and a few pictures, of the last few days from Leah Gold and Dani Dermer:
Keness was a great chance for us to meet and bond with the five other North American cohorts. The central focus of the Keness and Congress was the philosophy of a speaker named Avraham Infeld. Avraham came to speak to all the North Americans on the second day of Keness and he spoke to the Israelis earlier in the year. His speech focused on a five legged table of Jewish values: family, memory, covenant, Israel, and language. Avraham’s philosophy is that if every Jew picks at least 3 values from this table, then every Jewish person will have at least one value in common. His speech was very inspirational and opened many eyes. I know the second I heard his speech I wanted him to come and talk to my school. This five legged table set the foundation of topic for the International Congress. When the Israelis came, Givat Haviva resembled summer camp color wars with each partnership proudly cheering their names. The whole entire congress was filled with intense workshops and seminars focusing on the different legs, in addition to discussing our own Jewish Identities. We had a meaningful Shabbat with a white parade, we had “only the best” Israeli food, and we had very little sleep. Although we were exhausted each and every night, we managed to socialize with 200 other fellows at night in the very cool White Tent. In addition, we had an incredibly meaningful Tisha B’av where many of our fellows fasted for the first time. This morning we left Congress with new friendships, memories, and new perspectives. Although we are exhausted beyond belief, our bodies still shake with excitement as we begin our Community Week in Ashkelon. As we speak, our partnership is mingling together in Ashkelon’s National Park. We are filled with delicious fruit and falafel and ready to meet our new families.
I have seen such tremendous growth in all of these teens over the last two weeks. They inspire me each and every day and you should all be so proud of them! Enjoy the pictures and we will hopefully post another update tomorrow. Good night!