Int’l Leadership Seminar in Israel: The Old City and King David’s Palace

Shalom family and friends! After landing at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv in the afternoon on July 6th, we boarded the buses to head to our hotel. After settling in to the hotel and eating dinner, the teens were given some free time to hang out and relax after their long day of travel. Many took the opportunity to walk around the beautiful property and soak up the incredible evening sunset.

This morning after eating a wonderful Israeli breakfast, we hopped on the busses and began our first full day! Our first stop was the Old City. There, we saw the Jewish Quarters, got to walk around and experience some of the most ancient parts of Jerusalem and Judaism. Today we also had our first pizur lunch where we were able to eat at restaurants throughout the Old City.

Each group then travelled to the Kotel (Western Wall), the central hub for Jewish prayer. Many of us were able to reflect on our personal journey, and how we got here today. Our last stop for the day was exploring the City of David. Here we took a hike through the water tunnels of the ancient King David’s Palace. The cold water was extremely refreshing to walk through after trekking though Jerusalem for most of the afternoon.

We ended the day back at the hotel in Neve Ilan with a group reflection. Talking specifically about what we did today in Jerusalem and all the different experiences and emotions felt by everyone. It was a very impactful and inspirational first day for many of the participants.

The next part of our journey will take us to the mystical city of Tsfat where we will be spending our first Shabbat together and the rest of the weekend in the city.

“I was utterly shaken, it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my life. I find it mind boggling that’s there is one wall made of stone that can make people feel so much, or feel so connected to each other. Being able to pray at the Kotel was a new valuable addition to my Jewish identity”  – Sam Canales

“It was truly an amazing experience, and I am enjoying discovering Judaism” – Ilene Tuck

“After only knowing one person coming on this trip, I never knew I’d be able to make friends this fast” – Isaac Gevov

“You will not feel the weight or history, the heart of reliance, or the gift of hope, as strongly as you will, if you place your hands on the western wall” – Shira Davidson

“Today was a spiritual, uplifting day, where I got to make new friendships, build connections to Judaism, with Israel my homeland, and connect to G-d” – Sean Herzfeld

“I went to Auschwitz and I took this name from the book of names. They had the same last name as me, and I immediately felt a connection, but I had to put it on hold until I got to Israel. Once I wrote down the name, I immediately felt a connection, and once I put the paper on the wall, I was very emotional. Just to think that this is where she wanted to end her life, and now this woman, I have ended her life, in the homeland” – Jordan Green

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