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Girls Israel Volunteer Experience
NCSY GIVE 2015: Good Shabbos from the Old City!

Dear NCSY GIVE Parents,

Is it really the last Shabbos on GIVE? How did time fly by like this?! The last week has been so wonderful and totally jam-packed.

We started off the week regrouping from our free weekend. The girls had so much fun visiting family and friends all over Israel and we enjoyed hearing all of the wonderful stories from their adventures. We then had some lunch and heard from Stand With Us, an amazing organization that  teaches about Israel advocacy. Next stop was a hilarious scavenger hunt in the mall for one bus and a visit to Pina Chama, a rest stop for soldiers where locals drop off homemade baked goods to give them something delicious. We then headed back to Mevaseret for a really special night program- we threw a 19th birthday party for a young woman battling cancer. Her face lit up when she realized that it was a party for her and  everyone had a meaningful and wonderful evening.

Monday we visited the Shafdan, where we learned about how Israel puts all of their water to good use, and then one bus headed to package food for victims of terror while the other visited a sports facility for the disabled. We started off our visit there with a game of wheelchair basketball-it was really challenging, eye opening and fun! We then regrouped at Beit Levinstein, a physical rehab center, where we performed our Flashmob that we had been working on all summer. They loved it! From there we made our way to the Beduoin tents for an awesome night of sleeping under the stars and living the desert life.

We woke up early the next day and enjoyed a 5-star breakfast followed by camel riding, which was wild! From there we went to visit Masada, the Dead Sea and Ein Fatcha, a beautiful natural pool. The water was a super cooling experience in contrast to the insane heat. We then came back to Mevaseret to prepare for our upcoming carnival and to relax a little.

Wednesday was chock full of Chesed with working with children from troubled homes, visiting a factory that employs the blind (and working alongside them!), visiting Save a Child’s Heart and touring the Dialogue Through Time exhibit, to help us further understand the aging process. One bus also visited Yad Vashem and Har Hertzl, both very meaningful. From there we all headed to visit Michlelet on their campus for dinner, a shiur and an awesome game of basketball. While we weren’t victorious, we did have an awesome time playing and seeing old friends and new!

Thursday we hosted a carnival for over 70 children from Sderot, a southern city often under constant rocket attack. The carnival is a nice escape for them and they all had a blast! Our girls put on a great show with everything from face painting to pickle eating contests! After saying goodbye to the kids, we cleaned up (ourselves and our booths!) and had a beautiful program on challah baking led by our assistant director Miriam Borenstein. While some of the challahs will join us for Shabbos, most were delivered to the Pina Chama to help beautify the Shabbos of those soldiers who protect us. We then headed to Mamilla to shop and grab a bite to eat and then back to Mevaseret to pack up as it was our last night on campus!!

We woke up this morning sad to say goodbye to our new home (and to our awesome cook Moe who gave us amazing brachos today that we should return to Israel soon!) and excited for our upcoming Shabbos in the Old City of Jerusalem. Some more shopping on Ben Yehuda and in Meah Shearim was very much enjoyed and now we’re all rushing to get ready for our last Shabbos together here on NCSY GIVE! What better place to spend this Shabbos than staying in the Old City, overlooking the Kotel. We feel so blessed to be here!

Wishing you and yours a beautiful Shabbos!

Erin and the NCSY GIVE family

 

Erin Stiebel

NCSY GIVE, Director

stiebele@ncsy.org

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