International Leadership Seminar in Israel: Update #1

ILSI 2017
Update # 1

Shalom from Jerusalem,

After landing at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, we drove to our hotel, ate dinner, and started our journey together with our opening ceremony, where we introduced the staff and our purpose together. Our goal this summer is to help our teens grow, learn and develop their leadership; which we call leadership refinement. Our second goal is to explore Israel through authentic experiences and encounters.

The next morning we hopped on the bu ses and began our first full day! Our first day was the Old City! There, we saw the Jewish quarter, experience some of the most ancient parts of Jerusalem and Judaism. We then had personal reflection and time at the Kotel, the Western Wall, the central hub for Jewish prayer. Our last stop in the Old City was exploring the ancient City of David. We saw ancient ruins and walked through the underground tunnels of King David’s Palace.

In the evening, we attended the opening ceremonies for the Maccabiah. The Maccabiah is the world’s largest Jewish athletic competition. The Maccabiah takes place every four years in Israel. This year, the Maccabiah is hosting 10,000 athletes from 80 countries.

The next part of our journey will takes us to the mystical city of Tsfat where we will be spending our first Shabbat together!

“I never expected how much fun I’d be having and how many new friends I’d make, and it’s only the second day! I can’t wait to keep learning about Israel and myself in the coming weeks.”
-Aviel Ustoniazov, Austria

“I have had the best time of my life and it has only just begun. The friends I have made so far I know I will keep in touch with for a long time. The Maccabiah opening ceremony was just so amazing, specifically being in the same place with so many Jews who have so much pride.”
– Carly Belasco, New Jersey

“Israel and ILSI are such magical experiences. You really get to connect to the Jewish homeland along with some if your closest BBYO brothers and sisters. After going on Ambassadors to Bulgaria, I appreciate my freedom to express my Judaism so much more and I feel so connected to my people.”
-Julia Schwenderman, Pennsylvania

“Wow. We did a lot in one day. I’m overwhelmed. It’s been amazing!”
-Ian Toubin, Texas

“This is my first summer program with BBYO and I could not have asked for a better experience so far.  The friends I have made are amazing and I cannot wait to see what the rest of ILSI has in store for us.  Israel is such a magical place and it is even more magical to get to experience it with my peers.”
-Sarah Unterhalter, Kansas

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