Int’l Leadership Seminar in Israel: from Mystical Tzfat to Mt. Ben Tal

This past Shabbat we celebrated our community together in the mystical and holy city of Tzfat. We sang, dance and learned how others prayer, while challenging our own notion of where we find our communities at home. We returned to the hotel for a festive dinner and met AEPi fraternity brothers from two of Israel’s chapters. They spoke to us about their army service and the difference between commanding and leading.

The next morning we chose between two different Shabbat services at the local Abuhav Synagogue or one led by our teens at our hotel. We spent the restful day at the hotel and participated in staff and teen led programming which included one program where teens could meet and learn about 11 teens from Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia and Turkey. After dinner we closed Shabbat with Havdallah and departed the hotel for Tiberias where we boarded a boat on the Kinneret for an evening disco cruise!

On Monday we drove to the border with Lebanon to meet the men and women who live at Kibbutz Misgav Am. Our provocative speaker gave us a lot to think about, which we processed in our classes and later in our mishpachot reflection groups. We discussed the importance of learning all perspectives and seeking them out. From Misgav Am we traveled to the banks of the Jordan river for lunch and fun rafting!

After drying off we traveled to Mt. Ben Tal to view the border between Israel and Syria where we learned about the complicated political situation in Syria and the amazing stand of the 77th Armored Battalion against the Syrian army during the Yom Kippur war. At the site after 50 hours of fighting, the few tanks of the Armored Battalion held the line against 500 Syrian tanks and armored vehicles.

On Monday we participated in our first service project with Leket Israel, which acts as Israel national food bank. Collectively we picked 8400 kilos of butternut squash, which will feed 2,100 families in Israel. We the traveled to Beit Shearim, which was the home to famed Torah scholars and the Sanhedrin. Today the item is known for its catacombs and as the burial site of Yehuda HaNasi, who compiled the Mishnah and was the leader of the Sanhedrin. There we learned about Yenuda HaNasi’s humility as a leader, Rabbi Joshua’s stand again God and the history of burial in Israel.

After lunch we drove up to the Gilboa mountain to view Mount Meggido, which according to Christian tradition is the site of the apocalyptic battle that we refer to as Armageddon. There we spoke about our legacies, priorities and what drives u to be a leader. We ended our day by driving to the natural springs of the sachne and swam and relaxed before going back to our hotel for mishpachot.

Our next few days are packed with cool sites, exciting programs and a lot of fun!

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