Week Four Review

Director’s Note

Dear Parents,

Believe it or not, this is our last Week in Review blog post and photo upload of the summer. You can also expect email updates when each flight takes off enroute back home to Canada.

We began this week by touring Masada and learning about the incredible story of the Jews who lived there. We slept in the Bedouin Tents (a night complete with star-gazing and an awesome Drum Circle), and got to relax at the Dead Sea. We learned about natural springs in the Negev by hiking Ein Bokek and Ein Ovdadt. Then, we drove down to Eilat for a beautiful sunrise hike up Mount Tzfachot and enjoyed some afternoon snorkelling on the beach, after volunteering at a local daycare and learning about the high-tech start-up scene at “Eilat Hub.” We are now enjoying our final Shabbat together at Kibbutz Almog before finishing our trip in Jerusalem tomorrow and

As we wrap up our time here in Israel, I wanted to sincerely thank you for entrusting us with your children over the past four and a half weeks, and for choosing Biluim Israel for their 2019 summer.

Although there have been brief moments of relaxation, as your children will tell you, the past month has been very fast-paced. There have been early mornings, long days, hot sun, loads of touring and Israel Education, Hadracha (Leadership Development) sessions, camper-run programs, and much more. The group is always on the move; and as a result, Biluim Israel has a different pace and tempo than a typical summer at camp.

Through all of this, it has been wonderful to see the growth of individual campers, as well as the larger group coming together as a whole. The campers’ overall level of engagement with Israeli history, as well as the complexities of Israeli life today, has been very high, and we have enjoyed watching them form their own opinions and discover their own connections to Israel over the past month.

 I hope that you can use the photos and weekly updates written by the Chanichim themselves (including the latest one below) as a starting point to begin unpacking and reflecting on this summer with your children. I believe that each one of them has taken something meaningful out of their experience here.

Wishing you all the best in the year to come.

Chazak Ve’Amatz,

Ryan Peters

Director, Biluim Israel

PS: Stay tuned for one last special surprise to be posted on Facebook and Instagram soon…

Camper Letter

Dear CYJ,

Shabbat Shalom from Israel, the land of the Jews, The Jewel of the Middle East, the Beresheet, the land flowing with milk and honey, the residence of religion, the house of hummus, the destination for democracy and most importantly, our home.

This final week has been filled to the brim with bonding time with our loving chevrah, opportunities to flourish as young Zionist leaders, and big conversations about our Jewish heritage. The chevrah has really bonded and we are so sad that this amazing trip is coming to a close.

The week started with a trip to Be’er Sheva, after which we were invited into the Bedouin tents and indulged ourselves in their intriguing culture. We drank extremely black coffee, participated in a drum circle, completed a camel trek, and went stargazing at night. This was all before an early wake up to watch the sunrise on top of Masada where we learned about the heroism of the Jewish people who died protecting their religion. Afterwards, we went to the Dead Sea where we floated in the water and covered ourselves in mud.

On Tuesday, we went on a hike to Ben Gurion's grave. It was truly inspiring to finally come face to face with the final resting place of a Jewish icon. We all aspire to live according to his values as upcoming madrichim.

On Wednesday, we entered the Ramon Crater as a chevrah and went on a desert hike. Although the weather was scorching hot, the chevrah was too distracted by the captivating geology to care. Afterwards, we ran onto the air conditioned buses and drove to Eilat.

On Thursday, we volunteered with Asylum Seekers and Refugees from Sudan and Eritrea. We played with them for hours in the hot sun and had a water fight! We then bussed to the Eilat Ice Mall. It was so refreshing coming out of the 40 degree heat and into a mall with a skating rink in Israel!

On Friday we woke up at 3am and hiked up Mount Tzvachot to watch the beautiful sunrise over the mountains. The landscape was truly breathtaking and it was surreal to take in the view with our best friends. We then made our way up to a kibbutz near Jerusalem for our final Shabbat in Israel and as campers.

This last week has allowed us to come together stronger than ever. It is truly heartbreaking that we only have a few more days left as a chevrah. Billy Israel has given each camper the opportunity to grow as Zionists and become stronger leaders. We can’t wait to use what we have learned this summer when we return as CYJ staff next year.

Chazak Ve'ematz!

Robbie Tylman (Solelim)

Evan Rimer (Solelim)

Lia Liederman (Kadimah)

Maya Ziskind (Solelim)

Sammy Moses (Solelim)

Gabi Roitman (Solelim)

Jake Bier (Kinneret)

Gabriel Helfant