Celebrating Israel

Chag Sameach Everyone!

We visited the Jewish Quarter today and the refurbished Hurva Synagogue, located at the heart of the Jewish Quarter. It is one of the most beautiful and impressive synagogues in Jerusalem and perhaps in the entire country, housing one of the world’s tallest Holy Ark (which contains the synagogue’s Torah scrolls). Amid numerous destructions, it’s arch remained standing as a beacon for the Jewish people and now the synagogue has been fully restored to its magnificence.

“I have never seen such a beautifully built synagogue with such intricate architecture.It is amazing how they brought the synagogue back to life after being destroyed and broken down to rubble. “ – Anna Fleisher (Cherry Hill, NJ)

Visiting the Western Wall is always a highlight for everyone, but, today was extraordinary because we celebrated the Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah of the following people: Noah Berkowitz-Kimmel (Anchorage, AK), Abbe Cohen (Pittsburgh, PA), Katie Mauthner (New York, NY), Maya Sachs (Woodbridge, CT), Payton Stredler (Virginia Beach, VA) and Caroline Zwillenberg (Dallas, TX)

 “Walking through Auschwitz and seeing the names of my great grandmother and great uncle among the other 6 million names was something I will never forget, and becoming a Bat Mitzvah in Israel at one of the most holy places on earth has helped me continue to connect with my past family members and develop my love and pride for the State of Israel, but, all aspects of being a proud Jewish woman.” – Caroline Zwillenberg (Dallas, TX)

 The past 24 hours went from a day of mourning for Israelis who died in wars and through terrorism to a night of joy and merriment.

“This trip has been such an emotional rollercoaster; today was no different. We started the morning honoring those who sacrificed their lives for our country and we ended celebrating what their sacrifices brought. It was also really great that the entire country threw a party for my birthday.” – Jack Rosenblatt (San Antonio, Texas)

We returned to our hotel tonight after one of the most exciting nights of the trip – celebrating Israel’s Independence!  The streets were packed with Israelis and visitors, all cheering and dancing in the streets.  The teens loaded up on Falafel and Shawarma and managed to frequent every vendor and Judaica store.  It was fun seeing all the goodies they purchased and hearing about the great foods they tasted.

“Tonight, we got to celebrate Israeli Independence Day on Ben Yehuda street. It felt so good to be celebrating for our homeland, after learning how hard we fought to keep it.” – Hallel Cheskis (Harrisburg, PA)

Tomorrow is another special day in Jerusalem and I look forward to sharing more with you tomorrow night.

B’Shalom,

Sherrie

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