February 27, 2017

Our efforts to support victims of domestic violence continues to make a real difference.

For anyone looking for public ways to show support in the fight against domestic violence, there are two statewide events coming up that you might be interested in.

1) White Ribbon Day in Massachusetts. White Ribbon Day is the statewide call to men and boys to be allies in the work to end violence against women. In truth, there are usually events scheduled across the state throughout March. On March 1 and at Faneuil Hall, Jane Doe Inc, Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, will host the 10th Annual White Ribbon Day Event. It’s always a very cool and inspiring event and it’s open to the public. The program is aimed at (and primarily attended by) men and boys, but girls and women can definitely attend if they want. Space is limited, so you might want to RSVP if you wish to attend.

2) The City of Newton's White Ribbon Day Proclamation - Closer to home, the City of Newton a...

February 26, 2017

We started the last day with a beautiful hike on the beach.  We all sat near the water, talking and laughing about all of the fun times we had on the trip.  Some even went into the water to cool off after lying in the burning sun.  After the gorgeous beach weather we all went to the mall to have a quick bite to eat.  The meal included some classic Israeli delicacies.  All of the shops were closed due to Shabbat, so we all went home and quickly changed for the beach.  Once we were all on the beach we took pictures, played fútbol (soccer), and drank iced coffee.  After, we all had to go and pack up 12 days worth of clothing, gifts, and food (chocolate and bamba).  After packing, we reconvened at the Manesh residence for a farewell feast.  We shared our favorite and funny memories.  After a quick but tearful goodbye, we began our long journey to the Ben Gurion airport.  The trip was truly amazing, and we were all so glad to share the wonderful experience together.  Our group went through...

February 25, 2017

Today was a very physically tiring day. We kicked off our day by exiting our hostel and moving on to climb Mount Arbel. We had a very easy way up to the top of the mountain but, the way down was much trickier. We had to maneuver our way around big rocks and boulders to make our way down to the bottom of the mountain. We then continued our journey into an Arab village where we enjoyed a delicious hummus lunch. From there we all went back to our wonderful host families, and prepared for Shabbat . We then went on to visit a very cool reform synagogue and had a wonderful Shabbat service with amazing singing and great Challah. Then, back to our host families for an amazing Shabbat dinner and an early night in. See you all soon! 

February 24, 2017

We woke up in our respective homes, where we ate breakfast. Then, we met up with Noam at Alliance before hopping on a large bus (with wifi!). We, along with all of the Israelis, drove to a place in Beit Lehem HaGlilit where we got on some bikes. We then took about a two hour bike ride, with periodic breaks and some people getting in the van halfway through and ended up at a beautiful stream. Then, after a short bus ride, we arrived at Kibbutz Harduf, where we fed calves and chickens and collected eggs from the chickens. Then, we drove to a large vegetable farm where we split up into groups to prepare our own lunch. Some of us picked fresh herbs, some of us cut ingredients for the salad, some of us made pita, tahini, and hummus, while the more experienced chefs made omelettes and shakshuka. After eating, and another short bus ride during which most of us slept, we arrived at our accommodations for the night.  We entered the hostel near the Sea of Galilee and checked in to our rooms for...

February 23, 2017

Today, we woke up relatively early to go to the Alliance school. We all met up in the room that we had originally met in yesterday. We then played a short lived version of the Amazing Race which essentially served as a tour of the school. We then played some Israeli-themed board games that consisted of learning about prominent Israeli figures/holidays/places. We then played a more extended version of the Amazing Race, in which the first destination was the highest point of Haifa University, which had an amazing view of all of Haifa. At the top we also had to identify a ton of different buildings around Haifa. We then took the bus to Carmel Center and visited the Baha'i Gardens. We continued to walk around haifa into Wadi Nisnas where we got some incredible shawarma and falafel. We then walked around German Colony, and eventually made our way down to the beach via bus. We walked along the beach and then went back home to rest up. Then, we went bowling (rabbi got a score of 114!!) ate pi...

February 22, 2017

We had yet another amazing, jam-packed day here in Israel. We kicked off the day off the day with an exciting hot air balloon ride. The hot air balloon beautifully overlooked the city and landscape of Tel Aviv.  We were given a real perspective on how large the city is. We then continued our journey up to a poor Arab village called Jisr Az-Zarqa. We were given a wonderfully guided tour by a woman by the name of Genevieve. Genevieve is a Jewish French woman who made aliyah three years ago to Israel. She is getting a graduate degree in conflict management and her project is the village. The project is about how an Arab and Israeli got together to create a guest house to show how both groups of people can work together to reach a common goal and better the society that both live in. Genevieve brought us to the fisherman's beach and we walked around and learned about the history of the village. We walked up to a slight elevation where we saw the landscape of Jisr Az-Zarqa and the surr...

February 21, 2017

We started the day with a rushed Israeli continental breakfast and then continued our journey to south Tel Aviv. We were greeted by an Israeli who would take us on a tour of the graffiti in the neighborhood. After some quick introductions, we learned he grew up in Newton and attended Newton North High School.  It really is a small world!  After the tour, we drove to the Carmel market, where we had lunch and shopped for a while. We then walked to the Israeli Independence Hall and made a quick stop for milkshakes. We ended the day with an "escape the room" adventure and dinner at Sorona.

February 20, 2017

Today had an impact on each and everyone of us, and made us all realize what it was like to be truly changed from what we usually know.  We started off the day by waking up and taking a quick coffee run to Aroma of course.  We then packed up all of our stuff from the hotel rooms and got onto the bus to start our influential and mind opening day.  We then went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem.  Noam took us through the museum and carefully explained what each room displayed and how it impacted the Jews at the time.  The museum was set up in long hallway that showed what happened in chronological order.  At the beginning of the museum a video of Jews before the Holocaust was shown, displaying what their identities were before the Holocaust.  At the end of the hallway, there is an open window that is showing the “light at the end of the tunnel.”  When we finished the museum we were brought outside to show a beautiful vista point of Jerusalem.  This s...

February 19, 2017

Today we woke up in our new hotel in Jerusalem. This hotel was basically an Israeli Marriott. We started the morning off strong with one of my favorite things in the world - continental breakfast consisting of various breads and spreads. From the hotel we hopped in the van and headed over to Mount Olive which is an unbelievable view of the entire city of Jerusalem. It is also where some Jews believe that the Messiah will see Mount Olive first when he enters Israel. From Mount Olive we piled back in the van and headed over to a market in the Arab corner of the city where we saw some really cool touristy items and met some very cool people. We also learned how to bargain on prices from some experts. After spending hours in the market we went back to the hotel and rested a bit before dinner. For dinner we drove to a restaurant a few minutes away where we got some much needed and very good American food. Right outside the hotel we saw an ice cream shop and decided it would be a great way t...

February 18, 2017

Today we woke up and finished packing our bags. At 7:30, we were treated to a breakfast of bread, veggies, and make your omelettes (which I personally didn't like). The farm people took our bags down and we were on our way. Soon after, we were off to Bedouin Disney where we rode on the backs of camels, 2 people per camel. The ride led us to a spectacular view at the top (and a little bit of pain). After a quick coffee stop, we left the Negev and entered the Judea desert (not before passing Israel's largest nuclear power plant) where we discussed how the Dead Sea was formed. Then, we hopped in a jeep and took a long, bumpy, and (at times) scary ride through the desert. We licked some salty rocks, learning about how they were formed, and were taken up to a breathtaking viewpoint, before heading back down. We drove near to the coast and the Israel-Jordan border through the West Bank on the way to our lunch spot. There, we enjoyed a amazing barbecue lunch with hot dogs, chicken, bread, and...

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