February 23, 2020

  

When you google the word kibbutz, you are greeted with the definition “a communal settlement in Israel, typically a farm.” Visiting Harduf Kibbutz was the type of textbook kibbutz that we were looking for. As opposed to the others which we had visited in days prior, this one was jam-packed with what you would expect from your typical farm. It had everything; chickens, cows, and vegetables. Harduf differed in other ways as well, it had a rustic feel and was a rehabilitation center.  The center was for people of all ages with mental disabilities as well as for people who were displaced due to the war with Palestine or because their homes were deemed unsafe by the Israeli Social Services. The adults worked on the farm while the children were taught nearby. This type of living brings us back to the whole purpose of this wonderful trip; learning about coexistence. 

Next, we got on the bus and headed to a city called Acre. Once we arrived in Acre, we started with lunch at El Marsa...

February 22, 2020

Today was a great day because we got to SLEEP IN! We met our guide Bar at 10:00 a.m. in the lobby and went on a great bus ride to a beautiful lookout over Metula and into Lebanon. We talked about the past conflicts between Israel and Lebanon and why the border is called the “Good Fence”. We then traveled to Cheese, a restaurant south of the Lebanese border in Beit Hillel. The food was delicious, and we finally got to choose our own dishes from the menu.  We then got back on the bus and drove near Merom Golan where we divided into three jeeps.

We started on our jeep adventure with a wild and bumpy ride next to the Israel-Syria border.  The drivers really pushed the cars to the limit by going over rocks, zooming through mud, and even driving up a staircase!  After driving for a little bit, we made a stop to peek at a war bunker used for protection between Syria and Israel. It was amazing to see the trenches and underground cement rooms that were built by hand by the Israeli military. Afte...

February 21, 2020

We started off our morning with the usual hostel breakfast; eggs, salad, and toast. Then we packed up our bags and headed straight for Yad B’Yad, or the Hand in Hand school. We learned about how the K-6 school brings together Israeli and Arab students. It’s a bilingual school aimed at bringing families from different backgrounds together teaching them to coexist. After understanding the history of how the school began from one of the mothers whose children attend, we headed down to the kindergarten to play! Even though we couldn’t speak their language we still managed to get some high fives, draw, and play some feisty tag. All the kindergartens were so cute and fun to play with.

For lunch we headed to the unique restaurant Robin Food. Similarly, to Robin Hood who takes from the rich and gives back to the poor, this restaurant takes food that would otherwise be thrown out and repurposes it into delicious meals, where people pay as they feel. Not only was the restaurant vegan, but also...

February 20, 2020

CZ: What was your favorite thing we did today?

BW: My favorite thing we did today was woodworking. We volunteered at MOLET which is part of an organization that helps the children of asylum seekers from Africa who are living in South Tel Aviv. At MOLET we created planters to give to these families. It was cool to use recycled wood pallets and scrap wood to create something for the greater community.

CZ: Yeah, I thought that was a lot of fun too!

BW: I also really liked learning about and being immersed in South Tel Aviv and seeing the real-world struggles of the Neve Sha'anan community with immense hardships. In addition, it was cool to see the way gentrification and asylum seekers mix to create a community coming together through hardship.

CZ: I agree. The Central Bus Stop in South Tel Aviv was fascinating too. It seemed weird that the government was continuing to try to modernize that part of town, yet it ended up resulting in worse overcrowding conditions for the neighborhood.

BW: How di...

February 19, 2020

Today was a jam-packed day! As a group we furthered our knowledge of the geo-political issues that over the past 15 years have been plaguing Israel and the Gaza Strip; however, before we dove deep into this new information, we made a stop for breakfast. After packing our bags in the morning, we ventured to a shop named Cofix where we had Israel’s famous version of iced coffee. It tasted sensational, a few of us even tried their breakfast sandwiches. Next, we went back to the hostel to load our bags onto the bus as we began our journey to Tel Aviv.

On our way, visited the Path to Peace Project in Nirim kubbutz.Netiv HaAsara, a moshav on the border between Israel and Palestine is where we met Tsamaret. She’s a mother, a potter, and founder of the Path to Peace project.  The project hopes to shed light into the geo-political issues surrounding Israel and the Gaza Strip. They share and spread the message of peace by painting and gluing ceramic tiles onto the first separation wall betwe...

February 17, 2020

Today, our first activity was visiting Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Israel. Our guide, who took us around the museum, taught us about why the building was shaped the way it was and the meaning behind specific choices such as the concrete floors, meant to make museum visitors feel uncomfortable. In addition, we learned about the Righteous Among Nations. This title is to honor citizens that put their life at risk, did not make any money, and were non-Jewish people that helped Jews in the Holocaust. When given this honor, one receives a certificate, an Israeli citizenship, and  a tree is planted in their honor. Many of us were shocked at the number of people were awarded this enormous honor (over 27,000) and people are still being honored today. All of us were touched by the museum and the specific stories of Holocaust survivors as well as people who didn’t survive. One story that stuck with us was about a woman and man who both survived the concentration camps.  When the war was o...

February 17, 2020

We began our adventure at Hezekiah’s Tunnel in the City of David. At first most people were nervous about the small spaces, cold water, and darkness. As we learned about the history of the tunnels and the importance they hold, it became clear that was a special experience for all. The tunnels were created by starting at two different ends and miraculously meeting in the middle. This creation made it easier to find fresh water. As we walked through the chilly water it reminded us that we are so lucky for the clean sources of water we have every day. It gave us a new perspective of the struggle other people experience.  Once we made it through the depths of the underground, we climbed back up another pathway. This walk is like the journey people made to reach a special temple on top of a hill. The experience was one that we will always remember.  A moment that will most impact all of us was the part when we turned off the flashlights in the tunnels. It showed us that even without our sen...

February 16, 2020

We had a great first day here in Jerusalem!  After we departed from the temple, we headed to the airport where we started our long journey to the Holy Land. After countless security checks and a voyage that felt way longer than it probably was, we made it in one piece. We took the bus to the incredible and colorful Abraham Hostel and settled down before heading out to eat. Seeing the nearly deserted streets on a Friday night in Jerusalem was eye-opening, it demonstrated to us just how many people celebrate shabbat. After dinner, we settled back in at the hotel looking forward to our next adventure.

We woke up bright and early Saturday morning to have breakfast and head to Masada. After a 45-minute drive we arrived at the mountain and took the cable to the top. Our tour guide Bar explained the history of Masada which was very interesting and informative. After an hour or so we headed back down the mountain and to the Dead Sea.

Our time at the Dead Sea, while somewhat short, was awesome. W...

February 14, 2020

Earlier today Rabbi Stern, parents, grandparents and the TBA staff gave a sweet send off to our Grade 10 & 11 teens as they head off to Israel. Accompanying them on the trip are Heidi Baker, Mikah Atkind and Myriam Rofrano.  They are traveling to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and more. Stay tuned for daily photos and blog posts written by the students themselves.

February 10, 2020

I've spent over thirteen life-changing months living in Israel. Every time I go, I am struck by how much I gain and learn anew and am excited to share this experience with our grade 10 and 11 teens in just four short days! 

While our students have spent time together at TBA over the years, they have yet to share an immersive travel experience in such a meaningful place. They will bond as a group and connect with their Jewish identities on a new level. Heidi Baker, Myriam Rofrano and I cannot wait to see all the ways in which they (and we) learn and grow together...  whether this is our first or tenth time to Israel. Stay tuned for our updates throughout the trip - next Shabbat in Israel!

Mikah Atkind

Director of K-12 Learning & Engagement

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Temple Beth Avodah, a member of the reform movement, is led by Rabbi Keith Stern.  Learn more about our soulful services, including Jazz Shabbat, Early Learning Center's Jewish preschool, truly unique Religious School experience, vibrant Men's and Women's groups, meaningful adult learning and so much more! All are welcome here.TBA’s doors are open to all. We welcome participation of people of all races, ethnic identities, gender identities, sexual orientations, physical and mental abilities, ages, and religious backgrounds.

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