Israel Update

Rabbi Sharon Clevenger
Rashi's 8th Grade took a trip to Israel. Follow their journey.
Greetings from Jerusalem, my three favorite words!  We made it, and it is wonderful!

We began by meeting Benjy, our tour guide, Talia, our madrichah (a logistical organizer and fun person for our group) and Chaim, the best bus driver in all of Israel.  Really, Chaim is phenomenal- he's a great, safe driver, a former tank commander (he's about 60 now), and he loves kids.  What could be better?  
We drove to Jerusalem from the airport and stopped at a beautiful overlook of the old city of Jerusalem.  All of those photos of kids in blindfolds were from that place- they got off the bus blindfolded and walked in a conga style line to the overlook, then took off their blindfolds and Jerusalem was revealed!  It was kesem, magic!  Benjy shared a moving introduction about how the space where we were standing was exactly where Abraham would have fist seen Mt. Moriah thousands of years ago when God made that fateful request: "Take your son, your only son, Isaac..."  
We then made the short drive to Beit Shmuel, our Jerusalem home.  We got to our rooms and then headed down to the chadar ochel (dining room) for a tasty meal.  The kids said they were surprised by how good the food was.  After dinner, the kids played a bunch of "Minute to Win It" games in four groups.  To give you a sense of this experience, in one round, a member from each group just had to unwrap a candy with her/his toes.  The first one to do it got a point for her/his team (and DID NOT have to eat the candy).  The big goal: let the kids get out their energy so that they will sleep!
Your kids are now in their rooms, packing for tomorrow and preparing to get to sleep.  Tomorrow we experience First and Second Temple Jerusalem, then the Negev desert for camel riding and a Bedouin experience.  We can't wait!  
The great news is that the kids are relaxed and happy, and seem to be well into the process of leaving their cares behind.  Israel can have that effect on people...

Day 2