Final update from Israel is a collaboration by Sonya, Abby, Noa, Jesse and Sophie:
“Today was a packed day full of laughter and big smiles. We celebrated Noa Abergel’s 15th birthday. Our day started off with a filling yet crazy breakfast of ravioli, waffles, and eggs. Then we headed to Jaffa Old city and bumped into Netta Barzilai a Eurovision superstar. After an eventful morning of testing, touring, and enjoying the warm weather, we had lunch and hung out with friends and family. We wrapped up the day with an exuberant scavenger hunt around the first neighborhood of Tel Aviv. We split to smaller groups and each group got assignments and challenges. We wrapped up the day and our trip with da nutritious dinner at Doctor Shakshuka and had a closing ceremony. We can’t wait to see our families soon and to tell you all about our experience! “
“Today Naale had a packed morning and a more relaxing afternoon. We started off with an early wake-up packed up and headed to breakfast. Then, we headed to the sand dunes for a small hike and lots of fun! While at the sand dunes, we spent times with friends, rolled down the sand dunes, and climbed up a challenging steep sand hill. After this, we headed back to the kibbutz for more activities. We were each able to choose between two activities for the rest of the morning: off-grid biking or an off-grid village tour. The students who chose to bike were able to see the beautiful scenery of the kibbutz and the students who chose the off-grid village tour learned about solar power/energy and even got to do some cooking involving solar power.
After our activities, we had lunch and headed onto the bus to drive to Tel Aviv! Although this bus ride was long, we shared jokes, songs, laughs, and learned more about our classmates. This was a great addition to the many great memories we have made on our Naale trip so far. Later in the evening, the grade was split into four groups and given the task to choreograph a dance to an Israeli song. This activity allowed to us bond with friends, strategize and work together! While leaving Israel is bittersweet, we are looking forward to our final day of the trip tomorrow. “
Naale had a packed fun day with hiking, swimming in the Red Sea, BBQ dinner and a grade wide birthday party. Our update writer fell asleep before sending the update 😊 (true story!)
Tomorrow, after a sand filled hike and a bicycle ride along the Jordan river, Naale will head north to the Tel Aviv area. It’s a long drive, an opportunity to catch on sleep, sing together and enjoy the late winter/early spring blossom of the desert.
Wednesday is Naale’s last day in Israel. At 8am they are testing for the flight, loading their suitcases on the bus (for the last time!) and going to explore the origins of what is considered the first Hebrew city, Tel Aviv- Yafo.
After an active Shabbat morning with tfila at Moreshet Israel, the Conservative shul at Agron, followed by a delicious lunch and a relaxing afternoon either napping or walking to the park across the street, Naale had an activity with Madrichim discussing the question of what Shabbat should look like in the Jewish state. Should there be public transportation, should shopping centers be open? Is it fair for shop owners or bus drivers who are orthodox? Where or what should be the Jewish practices the country should enforce, if at all. It’s a challenge we don’t always think about here, where officially church is separated from state. After a heated debate Naale held what they described as “a serene Havdalah service, singing, and swaying as our Shabbat together came to a close”. From Havdala the group headed to Ben Yehuda Street to eat and roam about with friends.
Today, Sunday was an early wake up, packing their last items and heading to the bus to drive down south. First stop was Ein Gedi . Naale took a beautiful hike, saw a few Ibex and Hyrax, waterfalls and mountains. After lunch, the group headed to the Dead Sea to bathed in mud and float in salty water. Before the day was over, they arrived at Kibbutz Ketura, their home for the next two nights. If you’ve been to Young Judea camps you probably hear about Kibbutz Ketura, the Kibbutz founded by Alumni of the youth movement. Aside of staying in their guest house Naale will also learn about the modern kibbutz life and how the ideology has evolved over the years.
“After a fulfilled night sleep, class of 2025 woke up at 9. We headed down to eat an Israeli breakfast and then took a peaceful walk over to the Kotel. Rob stopped us along the way to teach us about the history of certain architecture. As we arrived at the Kotel there were sounds of Muslim call to prayer, church bells and Ultra-Orthodox jews stepping out of the Mikvah, getting ready for Shabbat. Although at times it is hard to share such a sacred place, it is also such a beautiful thing. It shows the complexity and beauty of people coming together to worship. Then we wrote notes, prayed individually at the western wall and had a wonderful community Tfila at the egalitarian kotel.
From there we walked up the many steppes leading to the Jewish quarter, visiting the Hurva Synagogue destroyed during Independence war, and rebuilt in 2010, the Burnt House where we saw remains of house from second temple era.
As lunch time had once again arrived, we split up and had the opportunity to eat at a bunch of different restaurants. And rest assured we will eat our way through Israel. But now I must get ready for Shabbat and we know that will take forever. Shabbat shalom”
“Today was an exciting and educational day. We started our day by enjoying a delicious Israeli breakfast downstairs in the Agron Youth Hostel cafeteria. We then got on the bus and went to explore The Herzl Museum where we learned the importance of Zionism and who Hertzel was. We took a quick hike up Mount Herzl and went to go see his grave. We paid our respects by adding stones on top. After we got down from Mount Herzl, we got back on the bus for a quick drive to Beit Ha’Kerem and got to get lunch with friends and go shopping for food in the grocery store. This was a very fun experience, and we had a great time practicing our Hebrew with employees at stores.
After lunch, we went to Yad Vashem and learned many important facts about our European history and the Holocaust. Our tour guide was very insightful and knew a lot about this meaningful topic. While we were visiting Yad Vashem, we had the opportunity to visit the Children’s Memorial which was very sad but reminded us that it is important to never forget those lives that have been lost. After our tour of Yad Vashem, we went to Machane-Yehuda, and we broke into our mishpachot groups. We tried many new and tasty foods on our food crawl. My favorite was the rugelah because it was very rich and flavorful. After our food crawl, we had a second pizzur and got some delicious food for dinner before meeting back in our mishpachot. Once we got back to Agron we enjoyed some free time and ended our night off with a fun activity. See you soon for more updates about our time in Jerusalem!”
“Yesterday when we arrived at school for Naale, our parents handed Rabbi Meirav a suspicious looking envelope. I can’t wait to figure out what is inside of that envelope….
We hopped on the bus at 12:30 and went to the airport for what turned out to be a very eventful flight! After going through security, a few students even bumped into distant family members as we were boarding the plane. We got stuck on the tarmac for nearly three hours before take-off because the coffee machine started leaking and then they had to refuel the airplane! (And no, as much as I love coffee, I did not break it).
Once we got to Israel, after checking into Agron, we got to experience Kosher Pizza Hut and they even had gluten-free and vegan options. We then met our wonderful Israeli madrichim, Zeevi, Maya, Noa and Yaron and had lots of time for group bonding. We are still in “Bidud” (quarantine) so we are going to order in a big dinner tonight. After that, we will be placed into groups for “Zman Mishpacha” and will get to know our daily reflection groups. We are looking forward to getting out of Bidud tomorrow so that we can explore Jerusalem. All in all it has been a great, but long, and tiring day and we all can’t wait to hit the hay”