Italy #1: Jewish Experience in Italy

It has been one helluva three days since our last update. So much has happened, so much experienced, so much gelato had. Below are some updates from the participants for you to see a glimpse of Italy/Slovenia through their eyes.

Friday:

Exploring and learning about Judaism in another country was something that you rarely experience in your life. We entered the Jewish ghetto and toured a Jewish museum showcasing two Jewish synagogues and other Jewish artifacts. We learnt about what the Jewish people went through around the time of the second world war and more details about the ghetto itself. It was a truly mind opening experience. The beach in Venice was an amazing part of our day. There were many people enjoying themselves in the sun and the water was amazing. It was awesome to get into the water especially after many hot days of touring.-Shane Weinberger

On Friday we went to a beautiful Sephardic orthodox synagogue in the jewish ghettos of Venice. Despite it being very hot inside the synagogue, the Decor and artwork were Astounding. While the rabbi was addressing the congregation, one of the locals turned to me and told me that about 75% of the people in the service spoke only English and had no clue what he was saying. After he said that to me, my faith was restored that Jews can actually be funny!-Ethan M. Sandweiss

Saturday:

On Saturday morning we played fun games to get to know one another better. We then walked back to the Jewish quarter in Venice to have a group Shabbat lunch. Afterwards, we went to St. Mark’s Basilica and Square. We had time to walk around St. Mark’s Basilica, as well as free time around the square. We all walked around the area in small groups. One group went on another gondola ride, while others watched by the water and shopped. We then all walked to an Italian restaurant for dinner near St. Mark’s Basilica filled with pasta and ice cream! We walked towards the train station and over such a beautiful bridge to do Havdalah. We welcomed in the new week as we walked back to our hotel.-Alexa Schwartz

Sunday:

We woke up bright and early to set off for Slovenia. We had a quick breakfast at the hotel in Venice and then walked to the train station. After walking to the train station, we all got on the train to take us to where our bus was. Then we all got onto the bus. After about 3 hours of relaxing on the bus, we arrived in Slovenia. The mountains and water were beautiful! Then, we went to a small shed-like building get wetsuits, water shoes, life jackets, and helmets. Next, we drove a little farther to get by the water. We ate a quick lunch that consisted of a sandwich, a chocolate filled croissant, an apple, and water. Soon after, we walked down to the river. The river was one of the most incredible things I had ever seen. The water was crystal clear. Our instructor let us get out of the raft and swim. To my surprise, we were able to drink the water while swimming. After an astounding white-water rafting experience down the Soca, we headed back to the hotel. We had a delicious buffet-style dinner and enjoyed group activities and free time outside. It was hands-down my favorite day of the trip so far.- Dani Williams

Today was the best day yet. We woke up at 6, ate breakfast and got on our way to Slovenia. We had a long ride to nap, talk, and bond some more. when we got to slovenia we got all of our wet suits and gear for our rafting experience. we then took another small ride to the rafting place where we put on our gear and ate some lunch. from there we took a short walk down to the river where we got in groups and were given an instructor and raft. we learned some basic rules and off we went.  the ride was so amazing. the sights were some that u can only see in person, no picture can capture it. ur was truly insane. the water was as clear as glass and so fresh. we got to swim in the water for a bit and it was absolutely freezing. the rafting itself was so fun and exhilarating. after the raft ride we carried our rafts up to the car, and got china fed and loaded onto the bus. from there we had another hourish bus ride to our hotel. we got to the hotel and it was stunning. rooms were cool. the pool and hot tub were amazing, food incredible but the best party was the view. the hotel looked out into the prettiest mountains ever. while at the hotel we ate amazing food, swam a lot and took tons of pictures . it was one of the best days. ~Aya Vlasoff: 

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