It’s Friday and that means that its Erev Shabbat in Jerusalem. This weekend is officially the off Shabbos, so everyone that has friends or family in Israel can get to see each other. I have been on a lot of Israel trips, but I have never seen a program that puts so much into each day. Everyone has been so cooperative and helpful and after three weeks of intense hiking and touring, everyone could use a little break.
Since the last post we had a chance to see more of our biblical history unfold and come alive before our very eyes. This past Wednesday we visited two important sights. We have all heard the famous story of David and Goliath and I’m sure that you have imagined what the area might have looked like. Well TJJ not only visited the site but a few of our teenagers even got to play the parts of Davis and Goliath and reenact the famous battle. Don’t worry no one was hurt! As we approached the site we hiked through a small forest that had small pillars along the path every few feet. On each of the stone pillars a verse from the Prophets was inscribed so you could really put yourself into the famous stories. Next we went to the famous Bar Kochba caves where we went to see the tunnels that the Jews constructed in order to secretly teach Torah and flee in case of a Roman attack. The tunnels were narrow and almost all of the teenagers actually crawled through.
The next day was not an easy day; and it was a very emotional day. We started the day on a guided tour of the new Museum at Yad Vashem and had a chance to learn about Jewish life before the war and what the Nazi’s did during the Holocaust. We then split up into groups so that we could all process the experience and ask questions about the Shoah. From Yad Vashem we walked to Mt Hetzl, which is right next door. All of the presidents and prime ministers of Israel are buried there and the largest IDF cemetery is there as well. We had all see the movie about the American born soldier Mike Levin, who was killed in battle and everyone was very moved when we got to see the place that he was buried. We heard real life stories about the people that were buried there and learned about their dedication to the State of Israel. All of the soldiers and leaders of the modern state are special people and courageous leaders and we all have a lot that we can learn from them. After a long and emotional day we headed to the Biblical zoo so that everyone could relax and enjoy the new relationships that each of the participants has formed.
I hope that you have a great Shabbos and I can’t wait for Sundays trip to the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi and Massada.
Inspire yourselves to inspire others...
Rabbi Josh Broide
Director of TJJ Bus 5