Week Three Review
After returning from Family Weekend, we began this week by spending three days touring Tel Aviv with an itinerary that included Old Jaffa, the Palmach Museum, and Sarona Market, as well as a Graffiti Tour in Florentin, a workshop surrounding LGBTQ life in Israel, and of course some time to relax on the beach. The campers also visited two branches of Canadian Hadassah WIZO daycares, and they got to volunteer and learn about the important work that WIZO is doing for families and children in their communities here in Israel.
After visits to the historical munitions factory in Machon Ayalon and the Tel Aviv Carmel Market, we drove further south. Here, the campers visited a Moshav bordering Gaza where one resident uses artwork as a way to spread a peaceful message, despite the tensions that surround the area. They also visited the Salad Trail, a lush set of greenhouses growing fruits and vegetables in the middle of the Negev. Finally, the campers got to “sand-board” on the dunes before arriving at our Kibbutz for Shabbat. Here, we have been enjoying some camper-run programs, Hadracha sessions, and a meaningful Shabbat all together as a camp, complete with services, Shira and Rikud, and Havdallah.
It was another jam-packed week, and you can enjoy the camper-written letter below for more details on all the activities I mentioned above, as well as the photos posted below. We are all looking forward to our final full week as we enter the homestretch!
Dear Campers of Kadimah, Solelim, Kinneret-Biluim, Shalom, and Hatikvah:
Shalom from Israel! This week has been filled with opportunities to learn about ourselves and Jewish history, to grow as leaders, and to have fun with our friends old and new.
As we all returned from Family Weekend, which was a 3 day period we spent with Israeli family and friends, we were overjoyed to reunite and continue our travels throughout this beautiful country.
To start the day on Sunday, we went to the Palmach Museum, an institute dedicated to teaching people about the Palmach forces of the Haganah that fought for the creation of our Jewish state. We then enjoyed a pizur lunch in Jaffa, a district rich in both culture and oily food. We had a great time eating shawarma and falafel, only to regret it 5 hours later. We then went to Jaffa beach where we spent time in the water, tanning with our friends, catching Pokemon and even electric scootering around the boardwalk— with helmets of course!
The week continued with a visit to an infant center run by the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO). Here, we played with children from the ages of 6 months to 3 years old, and we learned about the work that WIZO is doing to create a safe environment for less privileged children in Tel Aviv. After another delicious pizur lunch at the Sarona Market, an indoor plaza with artisanal food stands, we made our way into the munitions factory in Machon Ayalon. Our tour guide took us through what was once a secret munitions factory 8 metres under the kibbutz. The factory workers risked their lives on a daily basis to create bullets right under the noses of their community and especially the British Forces in order to support the early battles towards a Jewish state. It was a blast.
The following day we explored the Tel Aviv neighbourhood of Florentin through its famous graffiti street art. We were led through the streets and learnt about different artists’ styles and techniques, as well as their views on Israeli society. The next stop was the Carmel Market. In this shuk we were able to feel the excitement and energy of Israeli culture. We passed stands selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to kippahs and knock off Gucci hats. After a long and sweaty afternoon in the market, there was an optional trip to the beach.
On Wednesday we got the opportunity to participate in a scavenger hunt in Zikhron Ya'akov. Teams were made, and groups had to use their limited Hebrew and historical knowledge to find each proceeding clue.The winning group of the hunt was rewarded with extra servings of ice cream in a park close by. This was followed by a pizur lunch in the town square. Afterwards, both buses arrived at Nascholim beach and were able to swim amongst the jellyfish in the Mediterranean. As swam and coughed on salt water, we really bonded as a group. Our day ended with a representative from the non-profit organization Isreali Gay Youth (IGY) speaking to us about the institution’s goals and the history of the LGBT community in Israel.
Our final day of the week was a long but exciting one. We started the day off by driving to a Moshav which was located directly across from the Gaza Strip. Separated by an intimidating concrete wall, we heard a personal story from a woman who lives there and how she deals with constant threat danger. She explained that she uses her art to keep her grounded in reality and brighten the lives of the people in her close community. At her home we were given ceramic stones with paint on them, which we used to decorate the wall built along the border at Gaza. It was strange to witness such a contrast of peace and war colliding together at one polarizing wall. We then went to the Salad Trail, an agricultural organization that educates about desert farming and drip irrigation. We all got to see their unbelievable techniques in action and got to sample the crops the trail yielded: cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and so much more. Then, the bravest of us could prove themselves by consuming Habanero peppers in front of everyone else, enduring pain for our entertainment.
Finally, we ended the day with sand surfing. Everyone got to run up a massive sand dune and then 'surf' down on modified snowboards. We then enjoyed burgers and got to watch the sunset. It was a thrilling experience that wrapped up the day on a high note.
As we head into our final full week in Israel, we feel grateful for the amazing times we have shared here, and excitement for what is to come. Whether between busses or across the camp, we have all bonded so much over our shared love for our homeland.
Lots of love,
Kaily Rothman (Kinneret)
Sydney Goldstein (Kadimah)
Lauren Cohen (Hatikvah)
Emily Frank (Kadimah)
Alisa Bressler (Hatikvah)
Robbie Tylman (Solelim)