Gerda Vogel Marx 8th Grade Israel Experience Class of 2019: Part 3
Levine Academy

Class of 2019: Final Days in Israel

Saturday, March 23, 2019

After Shabbat, we had a meaningful Havdalah service and then we went shopping and ate on Ben Yehuda Street, which is a large shopping area with many stores and places to eat in the center of Jerusalem. Some people got shawarma, others went for Italian and then we got gelato for dessert. At the end of the night, we saw a Zionist Korean crew putting on a concert and some of the boys became part of the show.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

After the Western Wall tunnel tour we went to the rooftop of Yeshivat Aish Hatorah to get an amazing view of the Temple Mount and the Kotel and we all wrote private prayers to put in the Wall. Everyone had their own private time to pray or meditate at the Kotel. The Kotel was a highlight of the trip for many as we connected to people of our past and present.

Leaving Hakotel and the Old City of Jerusalem for the last time on the trip, we planned on davening Shacharit in the egalitarian area of the Wall complex in front of Robinson's Arch. But the rain increased when we arrived, so instead we davened separately at the Wall under the shelter of the Western Wall tunnels. It was a different and unique experience.

Finally, we went to a park where we met with IDF Special Forces soldiers. They ran some drills and games that they use in basic training, which included dressing in uniforms in an efficient manner. Next, they made us very tasty barbecue with wings, chicken, and kebab.

Monday, March 25, 2019

On the last day, we went on a tasting tour of the Jerusalem shuk. Our tour guide, Kobi separated the "sharks" (boys) from the girls who went with our Israeli chaperone, Ariella, since there was no chance that the girls would be able to eat or try anything with the boys -- who wants the leftover crumbs. It was a taste of all of world Jewry: everything from smelly French cheese, Turkish desserts, Kubba (Iraqi pastry meat dish), spices, exotic drinks like Gat, Morrocan food to Yemenite jachnun and mallawe.

We visited an Israeli Dance Troop who taught us about the plethora of cultures that make up the State of Israel. We learned about Russian, Yemenite, Moroccan, and Ethiopian culture and what inspired each group to make Aliyah and the challenges that they faced in Israel.

That evening, we had a closing ceremony where everyone shared what parts of the experience had been the most impactful to them and what we would take away from this experience in our personal and communal lives.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Cameras are always “on” when on trips. On the 1st leg of the trip back home, everyone was out. On the 2nd leg, everyone was much more sociable.

After a happy reunification, we all looked forward to our comfy beds and comfort foods.  We will cherish the non-stop laughing, forever humor and Mishigas (craziness), and deep insights.  It was a tremendous "kavod" (honor) for all of us to be part of what will surely be an identity-making experience in the lives of your amazing children.

– Your 2018-2019 Chaperones (Rabbi Litton, Rabbi Katzman & Dana Shidlofsky)