Girls Israel Volunteer Experience
Good Shabbos from Tzfat! (Week 3)

Dear Parents,

All the way from the South to the North… What a week we’ve had!!

Last shabbos we came together to experience the quiet power of the dessert, and after our shabbos in Yerucham, we were totally on a high, ready for an incredible week ahead. We spent Sunday working alongside adults with disabilities in paper factories, and then, to beat the heat, headed to… the Ben & Jerry’s Factory for some delicious American style ice cream. Several GIVErs even got together to purchase the Vermonster- a tub of ice cream that includes 20 scoops, tons of whipped cream and toppings and of course, hot fudge. It was a mighty tasty afternoon. From there we made our way an Ethiopian Absorption Center where we provided programming for various age groups and learned some cool new games and songs. It was really a blast! We returned home that evening for a program called The Last Jew which set the tone for the next day, Tisha Be’av and reminded us about the importance of Jewish continuity.

Monday, Erev Tisha Be’av, we had the unique opportunity to visit the Shomron, hear from members of the Itamar community, where the Fogel family lost their lives several years ago, and even milk goats. The views were breathtaking and the opportunity to see the rich beauty of the land was truly eye opening. We entered Tisha Be’av humbled that we are able to be in Israel to mourn the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash and prepared to approach this day with seriousness and introspection. After a meaningful explanatory kinnos program both Monday night and Tuesday morning, the prayers began to come life and the day took on more meaning. We sang together, cried together, shared experience of hate and sadness, and ended the fast with Mincha at the Kotel, our last remnant of tangible hope. We broke the fast at a fancy dairy restaurant that was thrilled to feeding a very hungry group of GIVErs! It was delicious!

Wednesday allowed us the chance to watch a film and hear from Anita Tucker, a former resident of Gush Katif, who shared her personal life story of struggle, dreams and hopes. The girls were very empowered by her commitment to the land of Israel.  We then made our way to Malcha Mall where we had lunch and participated in a wild scavenger hunt that resulted in some hilarious stories and interactions! That evening, we heard from Noam Bedin of the Sderot Media Center who shared with us what life is like in Sderot, constantly being under attack and at risk of rockets falling. This was in preparation for the carnival we then hosted on Thursday for children from Sderot, to allow them an opportunity for a break from the stresses of their every day lives. Our GIVErs prepared wonderful activities, booths, games, and prizes and the children all had a blast! We then heard from Dr. David Luchins of NCSY and Landers College who arrived on campus wearing FIVE years worth of GIVE fanny packs! It was awesome. That evening we went to the beach in Tel Aviv, soaked up the sun (with sunscreen, of course!) and had the special opportunity to see Na La’gaat, a professional play performed by actors who are blind, deaf and mute. It was very powerful.

We’re now in Tzfat, recovering from a fun day of hiking, shopping, eating and learning about Kabbalah and are very excited for what is sure to be a very spiritual shabbos for everyone!

Wishing you and yours a beautiful shabbos!

Erin and the NCSY GIVE Family

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