ILSI – Update #5

Shalom Friends and Family,

The last few days have been full of personal exploration, challenge and examples of leadership from this country we have come to love! We departed the Bedouin Tent for a beautiful hike in Ein Avdat, a national nature preserve. We saw the power of the desert to bring forth life and saw ibex, eagles and even vultures. It was in this area that David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, declared the future and preservation of the State of Israel. He knew that Israel needed the Negev Desert for economic, agricultural and national prosperity. He we visited his hut, where we saw his humble and learned lifestyle. He was dedicated to Israel, and not himself. Even his will, which hangs in the hut, outlines his request for no eulogies at this funeral. It was at his grave, which is near his hut, that we saw his love of this – on this tomb stone he includes two “birth dates”: when he was born and when he moved to Israel. We explored Ben Gurion’s memory in our Mishpachot when we discussed the value of humility.

The next day, we woke up early and ascended Masada, King Herod’s desert palace. It is believed that here, Jewish zealots during the Second Temple Period made their last stand and sacrificed their lives in protest of their Roman foes. When we got to the top of mountain we waited and watched the for the sun to rise of the mountains in Jordan and shimmer off of the Dead Sea. It was a beautiful end to a challenging hike. After a short prayer service, we toured the mountain, learned about its rich history and spoke about our own personal sacrifices we have made as young leaders.

After descending the mountain, we had breakfast and continued on to the Dead Sea. It was really fun to float on the water and experience the natural skin treatment from the mud. It was definitely an experience we will never forget!

In the evening, we prepared for our visit to Har Herzl by watching a short movie which tells the story of Michael Levine, an American-Israel Lone Soldier who died in the 2006 Second Lebanon War. We talked about his devotion to Israel, and the Jewish people. We talked about for what he felt responsible and how that guided his time. It was at Har Herzl, Israel’s National Leader and Military cemetery, that we saw where we saw his grave and understood his legacy through his actions. We also learned about Theodore Herzl, Hannah Senesh, Golda Meir and many other important leaders from Israel.

Before Har Herzl, we visited Yad Vashem, Isarel’s National Holocaust Memorial and Museum. We learned about Jewish life throughout Europe leading up to the Holocaust, how the Nazis came to power and much more. The end of the museum opened up to a view of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people.

In the evening we met Israel members of the Alpha Epsilon Pi International Fraternery and former commanders in the Israel army. They answered questions and spoke to us about their military service and the difference between commanding and leading.

Though we only have a few more days of the program, we are excited to share them with you after Shabbat, Until then, Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem!

“Coming on this trip I didn’t know what to expect. After already being to Israel two times prior, I didn’t know if this trip would be any different. To my pleasant surprise, all my expectations were exceeded. Yesterday, we hiked up to Masada before sunrise. It was most definitely one of my most surreal moments. Praying with the early sunrise gave me the chills and an unforgettable experience. I never hiked up Masada before, so it was great to take a different perspective on one of the most ancient fortresses in Israel. I will never forget it.”
-Sareen Nezaria, BBYO Nassau Suffolk Region

“Throughout the entirety of our journey, we have been on the move, traveling from place to place with little time to stop and think. Going to the Negev was one of the most exhilarating moments of our trip to date. An evening under the stars allowed us time to stop, reflect and truly appreciate a large part of this country often overlooked.”
-Emma Herman, BBYO Northern Region East: DC Council and Marissa Aaronson, BBYO North Florida Region

International Leadership Seminar In Israel 2018
#ILSI2018

More updates soon!

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