Monday, August 22, 2011

TJJ Bus 5 - Tel Aviv & Cholon

Everyone is still on a high from Yom NCSY and for those of you that missed the broadcast I have been told that there will be a link that will be made available so you can see the recorded event.
The past two days have been very exciting! We began our journey on Monday in Tel Aviv and started at Rabin Square, the actual place that Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated. While we were there we had a chance to learn about the great leaders of Israel and encouraged the teens to follow up with reading and studying about them when they get back to the States. For the first activity all of the teens were given a notepad and pens and asked to go over to local Israelis on the streets of Tel Aviv and ask them if they remember where they were when they heard about the assassination, as well as a few other questions about the event. After the activity everyone shared the compelling answers and discussed the emotional stories. We also took the time the discuss how to deal with others when we have disagreements and what’s considered appropriate behavior and what’s considered inappropriate behavior. We then headed for Independence Hall, the place where Israel declared its independence in 1948. They showed us a movie and we got to sit in the room, that is still setup the way it was that day, and hear all of the details of the famous event. Next we headed to Yafo and saw the famous old port city. While touring and shopping in the shuk, their local marketplace, we heard stories about the old and modern community.
Yesterday we went to the city of Cholon, a relatively new city in Israel, where we visited the Deaf Museum, and to honest I had no idea what to expect. It was a big surprise to see that it was really an interactive workshop with a guide that was deaf. We got to go into a number of rooms with headphones that prevented us from hearing anything. In each room we learned a different aspect of how deaf people communicate with each other and with people that are not hearing impaired. It was amazing to see that all of the guides that took each group were so happy and if given the chance to hear again would not be interested in being able to hear. There were so many lessons that we learned that day and it had a big impact on the participants.
Later that day we visited with the Israel Experience at Bar Ilan University, where we got to hear about this new gap year program for American high school graduates. There are so many options for college and hearing about an option in Israel where you can get a full years college credit from one of the foremost universities in Israel was an eye opening opportunity for many. Rabbi Tully Bryks, who created and runs the program is a former NCSY Regional Director, and has created a program that utilizes the Bar Ilan education program and infuses it with Judaic classes. Since yesterday was a fast day called Shiva Asar B’Tamuz, and we had a lighter load, everyone was very happy when we went to Papa Gayo (and I know its misspelled) to break the fast. I just want to point out that not everyone fasted and because of the heat in Israel compounded with the fact that the teenager’s health is paramount, we instructed everyone that the fast day was voluntary and we insisted that everyone drinks throughout the day if they felt uncomfortable. At the restaurant we had an “all you can eat dinner” with delicious food. I can honestly say that I have never broken a fast in a nicer establishment.
Stay tuned for more exciting updates from TJJ Bus 5!!!
Inspire yourselves to inspire others…
Rabbi Josh Broide
TJJ Bus 5 Director

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