February 26, 2013

 We woke up early and participated in a fabulous archaeology project that was absolutely amazing.  Sponsored by the City of David and private donors, we went to a temporary site (literally a tent) -- in which archaeologists and volunteers are working to "sift" through rubble from the Old City of Jerusalem that was unfortunately bulldozed in 1999.  The rubble, taken mostly from the Temple Mount area has yielded amazing finds that date back from the Roman times until the present.  The site has been in operation for the past 7 years, and only 1/3 of the rubble has been sifted.  They have had many volunteers over the years, who, like us, find incredible pieces that will help reconstruct the Temple Mount area through the generations.  This was no "rigged" activity.  In fact, our group found a few wonderful remains -- pottery shards, part of one of the painted tiles from the Dome of the Rock, marble imported from Egypt or Italy, and more. All of this work and some of the best minds in archeo...

February 23, 2013

On Thursday morning, our Puzzle Israel friends woke us up at 5am and met us at the bus with hot tea and sweets; just a little something to nosh on before our hike. We arrived at the base of Masada and then began our climb up the Roman Ramp to the top of this unbelievable fortress where we witnessed a clear and dramatic sunrise over the Dead Sea. We were met by a surprise actor who, in costume and with props, acted out some of the history of Masada in an entertaining and unforgettable fashion. With history as complex as Masada, it was great to watch and hear Ron, a professional actor, bring some of the personalities and events to life. We explored a few of the many sites on the top of Masada that were built by King Herod for his own pleasure, but later served as a fortress and hideout for Jews who tried to escape Roman capture years after Herod's death in the period of time when the Romans sought to destroy Jews and Judaism. We visited Herod's master bedroom, the Roman bathhouse, the st...

February 22, 2013

Following our delicious dinner and overnight with the Bedouins in Mitzpe Ramon, we awoke on Wednesday, packed up and then headed for more desert adventures.  Wednesday was a dry and cloudless sky and after a short bus ride, we arrived at Sde Boker -- a magnificent city and kibbutz in the desert that was home to David Ben Gurion.  As you most likely know, David Ben Gurion was Israel's first Prime Minister and served as such for last 20 years of his life.  Because Israel is 2/3desert, Ben Gurion believed that the key to the State of Israel's success was in settling the Negev Desert and making it bloom. While as a diplomat and head of state, Ben Gurion spent his working life in Tel Aviv, following that, he retired to a quiet and modest life in Sde Boker.  His small and simple home was left just as it was when he died in 1973; complete with his library, his honors and awards, and his family photographs.  Now, Sde Boker is a booming desert metropolis (of sorts!) and, in addition to the larg...

February 21, 2013

We are having a fantastic time!  Everyone is wonderful and we have seen and experienced so much.  We just arrived in Jerusalem as the sun was setting.  I'm looking out at the Old City walls listening to the Muslim calls to worship, church bells ringing and Purim songs.  Jerusalem is an intensely interesting, beautiful and complex city.  More later.... I must confess:  there was some relief in being "disconnected" for a couple of days!  

Rabbi Lisa Eiduson

February 20, 2013

Dear Friends,

Sorry for the delay….but we are literally in the middle of the Negev Desert…with no internet access!  I found the only Cafe Aroma in the area (like Starbucks!!)…that has WiFi…and rather than drinking coffee, I decided to write and let you know that we are all doing great!

There was a sad goodbye yesterday afternoon in Haifa.  Tears and hugs all around.  We feel good about what we accomplished in Haifa, and there were many promises made between the students for return visits - both to the US and to Israel. 

Puzzle Israel is guiding us as we head to Tel Aviv.  The bus ride was a bit more muted than it had been with the Israelis, but we were able to rest and reflect on the past few days in Haifa.  The change between Haifa and Tel Aviv was immediately apparent to everyone as we entered this major cosmopolitan center of Israel.  We walked a bit around Tel Aviv University - the largest university in Israel, and heard many, many different languages spoken a...

February 19, 2013

The students accompanied their hosts to the Alliance School in the morning where they were invited to sit in on classes and get to know a little bit more about the school and their educational program.  Even though they were only at the Alliance School for a couple of hours, our Temple Beth Avodah students enjoyed the experience and were warmly welcomed by everyone -- teachers and students and administrators.  Following that, we left by bus for a beautiful village called Ein Hod.  Ein Hod is just about a half-hour outside of Haifa in a picturesque and quiet area.  What is special about Ein Hod is that since 1952, it has served as an artists' colony where some of Israel's most talented and world-renown artists live and work.  Ein Hod is a place of magnificent natural beauty that is complemented by paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry and Judaic pieces both indoors and outdoors.  It is an inviting village where artists choose to live and work together:  they share gallery space, a m...

February 18, 2013

Today was a truly magnificent day for travel in the Haifa area and to the north.  We began at the Alon School, our elementary school-match in Haifa. While the school-match between Grade 10 Midrasha and the Alliance School is new, our 8-year partnership with the Alon School makes us "old friends." It was a warm reunion...we were welcomed by the Principal of the Alon School, Ilana Vagman, and then enjoyed a clever art project and  "presentations" from our friends in Grades 5 and 6.   Joined by our teens were some of the the Alliance School students (several of them had graduated from the Alon School and have siblings that are current Alon students), they loved getting to know the Israeli kids and teachers. It was a real reunion!  Some of the siblings of the Alliance students  are looking forward to "coming to Boston and visiting Temple Beth Avodah" when they are older -- just like their brothers and sisters.   At the end of our visit, we departed with a "mishloach manot" bag -- a gift of...

February 16, 2013

It is now Saturday evening and Shabbat has ended.  Our teens spent the day with their host families doing what most Israelis do on Shabbat:  sleep late, eat good food, spend time with family and friends, and travel to new sites.  For such a small country, it is quite extraordinary that there is always a new place to travel to and explore.

Rabbi Stern, Rabbi Joe Eiduson, Rosie and I had our own private "tiyyul" (field trip) with our Puzzle Israel friends, Nir and Guy.  (Nir and Guy will be guiding us a group beginning on Tuesday when we depart from Haifa.)  We explored Lower Galilee, including the small Jewish settlements in the area known as "Misgav." We were treated to an authentic Bedouin lunch before coming back to Haifa. The beautiful views from atop the hills, and the gardens lovingly planted and tended to by Israelis, were absolutely breathtaking!


The teens reunited this evening at a well-know artsy mall with stores and galleries called The Castra.  One if th...

February 15, 2013

Good afternoon from Haifa where it is breezy and sunny!

We are overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and had a short tour this morning which was wonderful and had the opportunity to learn about the origins of Haifa and talked with our guide about how Haifa is really the model for a co-existent city.  Haifa is home to many people -- included among them: Jews, Christians, Moslems and Bahai.  The gold dome of the Bahai Temple here in Haifa is a landmark that can be seen throughout the area, and the 19 terraces of gardens that lead up to the sanctuary are absolutely magnificent.  We spent some time in the German Colony and viewed its red roofs and talked about the early German settlers to Haifa beginning in 1869.  The combination of the mountain on one side and the sea on the other side make Haifa one of the most beautiful places in the world.  But what's more is the feeling of many people of different religions and cultures living side by side in harmony and peace.

The stud...

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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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