After weeks of fun-filled, jam-packed days, we are sending NCSY GIVE love from all over Israel as we embark on our “free weekend”. Let the sleeping begin!
Last shabbos was quite the experience as we rose to new spiritual heights in the holy city of Tzfat! After a lovely havdalah, we hopped on the bus and headed to Tiberias where we took an awesome boat cruise down the Kinneret, complete with fabulous dancing and singing! It was a blast. The next day was filled with fun from the very start- kayaking, fresh personalized pizza lunch, shopping in the Naot shoes factory and visiting… De Karina, a famous Israeli chocolate factory where we toured and generously agreed to taste-test some of the sweets. We even had the chance to make our own chocolate and take it home with us! If you’re lucky, your daughters brought you souvenirs, but I wouldn’t bank on them remaining uneaten until we return home…
Monday began our week of electives. Each GIVEr was assigned a location where she would volunteer consistently each morning for the week. The locations ranged from soup kitchens to working with the elderly, assisting with children and helping with the disabled, and so much more! The girls did a fabulous job, many making connections that will last and definitely impacting lives for the better. Our afternoons were filled with various activities including hearing from Rabbi David Katz of MMY, visiting Yad VaShem on a tour lead by world-renowned speaker, Rabbi Hanoch Teller, learning from Rabbi Yakov Glasser, Regional Director of NJ NCSY and Director of Education at NCSY, enjoying a wonderful dinner at Papagaio, a delicious restaurant in Jerusalem, and of course a whole slew of fun night activities! We had everything from So You Think You Can Dance, where the GIVErs were broken into groups, assigned a genre of music, and were asked to prepare a dance for their piece, to a HUGE Bat Mitzvah celebration (in my honor!)- complete with hors d’oeuvres, a signing board, classic Bat Mitzvah games, memory candles, songs, a (HIGHLY embarrassing) slide show of my childhood pictures, and tons of simcha dancing! After the Bat Mitzvah we broke out Olympic Color War, which included apache races, competitions, gymnastics, dance offs, newly minted national anthems, sumo wrestling and egg trivia. (Sound absurd? It was. Check out the pictures online!) A big congrats to the Orange Team- all the way from India!- on their win. Captains Tzippy Atkin and Kayla Blumenfeld masterfully led their team to victory! Go, Orange, go!
An unforgettable highlight of the week was our visit to greet an incoming Nefesh b’Nefesh flight. The flight was filled with passionate Jews, young and old, all ready to take a leap of faith and uproot their lives to return home. A former GIVE staff member was on the flight, along with relatives of several of our campers, all of whom we welcomed with personalized posters, big hugs and tears. We’re so proud of all of the new Olim! Best part? NCSY GIVE was SO good, that we made it to the cover of the Jerusalem Post and are all over the NBN homepage. Nice work, ladies!
All in all, this week was both meaningful and unbelievably fun! It’s hard to believe that we just have one more full week on NCSY GIVE, but we’re sure it will be just as memorable and will help to solidify all of the growth and experiences we have shared over the summer!
We wish you and yours a beautiful shabbos- wherever you are!
Erin and the NCSY GIVE Family