International Leadership Seminar in Israel: Update #5

ILSI 2017
Update #5

Dear Friends and Families,

We can’t believe how quickly this trip has flown by! We have done so many fun activities since our last update to you. The week began on Sunday by crawling through and exploring the Bar Kochba Caves. Bar Kochba led the third major rebellion by the Jews against the Romans in 132-135 CE. From there, we left for Sde Boker to visit David Ben Gurion’s house and his tomb. Sde Boker is located in the center of the Negev Desert in the south of Israel. That evening, we arrived in Chan Hasharot where we enjoyed Bedouin hospitality, learned more about their culture, went camel riding, star gazed, and slept in Bedouin tents.

Monday, we hiked the beautiful trails of Ein Avdat, then visited Kibbutz Gvulot just outside Israel’s borders with Egypt and Gaza. We toured areas near the border, learned more about how Israel supplies Gaza with essentials, and saw firsthand the remnants of the town of Yamit, an Israeli settlement in the Sinai Peninsula which was evacuated and demolished as a part of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in 1979.

Today was a very early day! We woke up at 3am to climb Masada where we were witness to the breathtaking Israeli sunrise and celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of one of our participants. After our decent from the top of the mountain, we spent the afternoon lounging around the Dead Sea. It was an incredible sight and experience to float in the water.

Here’s what our teens are saying:

“It was a very special and humbling experience to be Bar Mitzvahed in front of my closest friends and at such a significant location in our Jewish history. I will always have this unique memory that connects me to Masada and the Jewish community.” – Dylan Meehan, New York

“ILSI has allowed me to reconnect with my Jewish identity. I have learned so much about Jewish history and current events, and I am inspired to do more research and become more informed about these topics.”
Dana Lane, Maryland

“I had heard so much from my friends and family about the iconic Masada and Dead Sea and I feel so honored to have now seen and been to both. Masada was more majestic than I could’ve imagined.”
Natalie Chayet, Missouri

Upon our return to the hotel, we watched a documentary about lone soldier, Michael Levin, who was killed during the Second Lebanon War. Tomorrow, we will have the opportunity to visit his gravesite at Mount Herzl as well as visit the burial places of prominent Israeli Presidents, Prime Ministers, and soldiers.

Shalom from Israel,
Your ILSI Leadership Staff

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