ILSI Update #4

Shavuah Tov from the Holy City of Tzfat!

We celebrated Shabbat in a unique fashion, mixed with locals and other groups, at a Carlebach style synagogue. The men and women of this synagogue welcome Shabbat each week in energetic dance and joyous prayer. We sang and danced with them outside, as the sun set behind the mountains of Tzfat. For many of us, it was the first time we experienced a Kabbalat Shabbat like that.

The next day, in our Mishpachot, we reflected on the Kabbalat Shabbat experience and discussed our connection to that community. Some of us did not feel a connection to that community and others leaned into the novel experience. While we may not have felt the most comfortable, we understand that as Jews, we are connected and we should work to create open and inviting spaces to everyone!

Earlier in the day, some of us went to the Abuhav Synagogue for a different type of service. This Sephardi service is known for its quick pace and home to a 700 year old Torah that was brought to Tzfat from Spain. The rest of us participated in a reflection/meditation service, drawing upon what we have learned about this city and the Kabbalah. In the evening, after Havdallah, we went bowling and closed out a beautiful Shabbat experience.

Our tour on Sunday showed us the history of this amazing city – it’s influence on Jewish tradition, the home of Kabbala, and Kabbalah masters. In fact, it was here that we Lecha Dodi and other prayers from Kabbalat Shabbat we written. During our time touring, praying and shopping, we always felt the wind and the spirit of the city.

After a long drive from the North to the South, we found ourselves in the Bedouin Tent. We rode camels and learned about the Bedouin culture and enjoyed their famous hospitality. In the evening, we sat under the stars in our Mishpachot reflecting on the day, learning about the constellations, our leadership and singing around a camp fire!

We have been monitoring the news and made change to our Monday schedule, which now included seeing David Ben Gurion’s, Israel’s first Prime Minister, grave and home. We will continue to make updates based on suggestions from our security company.

We look forward to sharing our journey to the South of Israel soon and until then, have a great week!

“When in Tzfat, I learned the true meaning of Kabbalah. Throughout my BBYO experience, I never truly understood its meaning but after talking with an Israeli artist I learned about the spiritual side of Judaism. I learned how my name connects me to the past and had a restful Shabbat in Tzfat”
-Rachel Annex, BBYO Hudson Valley Region

“In Tzfat, I had an incredibly spiritual experience during Shabbat services. Praying, singing, and dancing with other girls my age from around the world made me feel connected to the Jewish people and our traditions spanning thousands of years. Bringing in Shabbat at an outdoor space in the home of Kabbalah, the girls who I first saw as strangers became my friends and genuinely welcomed me into their hearts, an experience that can only happen in Tzfat.”
-Julie Grossman, BBYO Rocky Mountain Region

International Leadership Seminar in Israel 2018

More updates soon!

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