We just left the holy city of Tzvat, where we have been staying since Sunday afternoon and this also marks the end of our tour in the northern part of Israel and the Golan Heights. The last two days have been very busy, but all of the activities have been both fun and educational. We had a chance to participate in an excellent team building exercise, where the bus was divided into three equal groups and given raw materials. All we had were a few pieces of bamboo, a rope, planks of wood and steel drums. Each group had to figure out how to build a raft and after the entire group boards the raft, race it to a designated flag in the Kinneret. The first team to build it and make it back to shore would win. Although there was a team that did finish first, there is no question that we were all winners because without working together and allowing everyone to work on a specific area, we would not have been able to complete our task.
It’s also amazing how so many small communities have build large scale production facilities in Israel. We have already visited that famous Naot Teva shoe factory that’s been built by a simple kibbutz, we also visited an olive oil factory that’s become world renowned for its products and finally we visited a chocolate factory. Everyone loves chocolate, but few know how its made. We had a chance to learn first hand the story of a family of chocolate makers to fled Europe and made it to Argentina before the Holocaust and eventually made Aliyah. Everyone got to make their own chocolate creations and off course enjoy lots of chocolate.
We also went of more water hikes and regular hikes and with each activity we get to see more of the beautiful land of Israel. Another aspect that has become very popular is the Teffilah (prayer) workshops that we have been running every morning. We started on page 1, with the first prayer called Modeh Ani and recognized the value of saying thank you and how much we have to remind ourselves everyday that we are truly blessed. The final two words of Modeh Ani hold an important lesson as well. We all know that life has its challenges, but we should never forget that God has faith in us, he has given us a mission and it’s up to us to live a purpose driven life. We also studied Rashis Chochmo, Ma Tovu, Adon Olam, Yigdal and the first blessing “All Netilat Yadayim”. It’s amazing how the simple siddur has so many valuable lessons.
Last night was the last night in Tzvat and we celebratd with a great BBQ and bonfire where we all sat around listening to great stories, singing and roasting marsh mellows.
As we head into our second Shabbat in Israel, I want to thank you for following our trip and please continue to help us spread the word about NCSY’s TJJ program. Remember you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for exclusive pictures as they happen and tune into Jewish Pride Radio for live interviews with the participants at 6:00am EST on www.blogtalkradio.com/broide. If you want to see more pictures please visit our blog on www.ncsysummer.com and search for pictures of TJJ Bus 5 on Picasa.
Inspire yourself to inspire others…
Have a great Shabbos!
Rabbi Josh Broide
Director of TJJ Bus 5