Girls Israel Volunteer Experience
NCSY GIVE 2015: Good Shabbos from Arad!

Dear NCSY GIVE Parents,

Our first full week on GIVE has been incredible. After an amazing start in the North of Israel and a beautiful Shabbos in Tzfat, we were finally ready to head to Jerusalem!

On our way down to central Israel, we pit-stopped at Rosh Hanikrah, the most northwestern point in Israel and the most beautiful view, and then made our way to Mearat Kesher to go rappelling down the craziest mountain you’ve ever seen! Gosh, we’re brave! After some much needed ice cream, we boarded the buses and completed our journey home, to Mevaseret. The girls settled into their rooms and got a much needed good nights rest.

Monday marked the beginning of a crazy intense week of Chessed! The two buses began to have alternating schedules and as smaller groups, got to know each other even better. Over the week we visited some truly amazing institutions and had the opportunity to work with them. Some of the highlights included visiting places like: Yad Lakashish, an organization which teaches trades to elderly immigrants (and has a rockin’ gift shop), Shalva, Chames Israel and Aleh, organizations that provide services for children with special needs, Hod Yerushalayim and Melabev, senior citizen homes, Leket, Pantry Packers and Ohr Meir U’vracha, food packaging organizations, Habayit Shel Suzan, an organization that offers after school services and skills to troubled youth (and also has an awesome gift shop!), the Blind Factory, a factory which employs the blind, deaf, and mute, One Family Fund, an organization that works with victims of terror and probably most importantly, we went to give out snacks and thanks to soldiers at an army base! If that’s not a dream come true, not sure what is! We also had the major privilege of waking up extra early to greet a flight of Nefesh B’Nefesh olim! With  waving flags, posters, singing and tears, we welcomed our brothers and sisters HOME! Such an unbelievable experience to be a part of.

This week also included our first visit to the kotel, which for many was their first ever visit to the kotel. We were thrilled to share in this special moment together, as a GIVE family, and spoke of the importance of recognizing that each of us is the next link in the chain, blessed with the opportunity to carry on our wonderful traditions.

Outside of Chessed opportunities, we also had a chance to visit the Blind Museum, which simulates being blind and is led by a blind docent, to hear from Neil Lazarus, who speaks about the situation in Israel, to visit Maaleh, an Israeli film school, and to participate in the closing ceremony of Project Hug, an incredible project raising money to help build a much needed pediatric emergency room in Chaifa’s B’nai Zion Hospital. The coolest part about Project Hug is that it was put on by one of our GIVErs’ sisters in honor of her Bat Mitzvah. What a role model to us all!

Today we packed our bags and headed down south for what should be a very special Shabbos in Arad. On the way, we stopped at a mall in Be’er Sheva to hand out Shabbos candles that we wrapped and wrote notes with, wishing Jewish women all over a beautiful Shabbos, and encouraging them to bring the light of Shabbos into their lives.

As we prepare for our second Shabbos together as a GIVE family, we wish you and yours a beautiful Shabbos and meaningful Nine Days leading up to Tisha Ba’av. May we see the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days!

Erin and the NCSY GIVE Family
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