ILS 2023 – Week 2!

from ILS Bloggers:

Week 2:

June 24: It was ILS’ first Shabbat in Israel! Shabbat is the day of rest — so that’s exactly what we did. We did have a few activities thrown in though, such as a stroll to the park where our group got even more familiar with our tour guide Itzik and our counselors Ryan, Yael, Kayla, Yossi, and Jake; a trip to Madatech where we got to play around with their exhibits; and finally after our havdalah ceremony we headed to the Haifa mall for a night out!

June 25: We started off Sunday at AquaKef, a water park obstacle course on the Sea of Galilee, and after, we started making our American Idol preformences. We performed those songs and dances at an amphitheater in Tzippori, an ancient Jewish city. Following that, we drove to a coexistence factory where we made our own Za’atar. We ended the night with dinner in Tiberias and a big boat party where we danced and had fun.

June 26: Today was packed with activities. We started off rappelling down a cliff, giving us an adrenaline rush that would last the rest of the day. Tzfat would be our next stop as we explored a synagogue, candle factory, and learned about Kabbalah. We also had free time to explore the city and go shopping, making it a memorable day!

June 27: On Tuesday, we started the morning early with a 3 hour hike down a mountain in the Golan Heights that led to a waterfall for some swimming. After we walked back up the mountain, we went to a beautiful overlook into Syria on Mount Ben Tal. We made our way to a Druze village called En Kina for a home cooked lunch. After the lunch, we went rafting on the Jordan River and finished with a BBQ dinner.

June 28: We started the day building our own rafts out of wood to sail down the Jordan river and do challenges. After that, we went to Libby’s house for a home-cooked lunch. Then we went to Tel Aviv and finished with dinner.

June 29: Volunteering at Rehovot was the first activity on our agenda as we picked kohlrabi (a vegetable related to cabbage) to give to families in need. Up next was our graffiti tour through Tel Aviv, where we got to explore a beautiful street covered in expressive art. Up next was the Carmel market, where we were able to shop for souvenirs and delicious local Israeli food. We then took a trip to the ANU Museum of the Jewish People, where we explored our roots. Our next stop was an Ethiopian Jewry experience — we learned dances, ate their food, and heard about their struggles before they got to Israel. At the end of the day we had a blast participating in a night out!

June 30: We started with a guided tour of the area on and around Rothschild Street. We ended that with a workshop at BINA, discussing the diversity in Israel. Following that, we went to the Carmel Market for lunch and free time for shopping. Later, we walked over to the IGY center in Tel Aviv to learn about their program for gay youth in Israel. We then celebrated Shabbat in a nice park overlooking Tel Aviv and the beach.

As we’re halfway through the trip, we need to take a moment to look back and see all the memories and friends we made along the way. There’s still two more weeks to go through and we’re so excited to create new memories and get even closer with each other, making this summer as memorable as it can be. Shabbat Shalom and Shavua Tov!