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Israel 2024 – May 10-11: Everyone!

On Friday, May 10, we went to Tel Marisha, an active archeological dig site. While there, we learned the tel’s history, including King Harod’s connection to the site. It was especially cool because the cave we were digging in was actually one that our guide Hillary helped to discover when she worked at the site. The cave is actually referred to as “Lumpy,” because one of the other guides who Hillary worked with had a ferret named Lumpy. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any treasure, but we went on to learn about ancient earrings that were found on the tel as well as an antiquities thief who stole a tablet from the site. After the tablet had been sold to a private dealer, they discovered other pieces of it, and saw that it was essentially the notice that the Heliodoris gave permission to access the treasure in the Temple. 

After a quick stop for a pizur in Beit Shemesh, we made a pit stop in Tel Aviv so Lyla could meet her host family before driving to Jerusalem so that the rest of us could meet up with our hosts. Keep reading to hear about our time with family and friends!

Lyla Levin

For my host Shabbat, I went to my cousin’s house in Herzelyia. They have three kids: Avigaiyl (13), Yoav (10), and Yael (2). I had the best time playing soccer, eating so much food, and laying on the beach. We got ice cream twice, and watched the Eurovision show after Shabbat. It was so nice getting to know my cousins who I haven’t seen since I was less than a year old and spending time in a different part of Israel.

Miriam Shapiro

For my host Shabbat, I went to my camp friend’s house in Efrat. Two of my friends were there, Eliora, and Goldie. We got ready for Shabbos and went to shul on Friday night. After shul we had a delicious dinner. By the end of dinner, we were already tired so we hung out a little more and went to bed. We woke up the next morning at around 11:00 am, before getting ready and eating lunch.  After that, we went on a walk and ended up going to my camp counselor’s house and hung out there for about an hour. At around 6:00 we went to a Bnei Akiva event for a little bit and then headed back to Eliora’s house. We had Seuda Shlishit and then did havdalah. I had such an amazing time with my friends and I’m so happy I got to see them!

Shay-Lee Hameiri

This weekend for Shabbat I went to my house on  Kibbutz Bet Hashita. On Friday me and my sister went to my grandma’s house to see her and my aunt, and after that we went to eat a delicious brunch. In the evening, we had a big family dinner with all my siblings and we had such a great time – obviously we missed my mom, but it was so nice to be together as almost an entire family! After family dinner, I got to see my friends from home. On Shabbat, I went to the beach with both of my brothers, one brother’s wife, and one brother’s girlfriend. We had an amazing time! At night, my sister, her friends, and I stayed up late watching Eurovision together. 

Dalia Epstein

For my host Shabbat I went to visit my cousins in Lod. When I got there I played some card games with my cousins for a little bit. Then we all got ready for Shabbos and some of them headed to shul. After shul, we had an amazing dinner and some delicious dessert. I learned some card tricks and got ready for bed. I slept in (which I was so excited to do!) and then had breakfast. We played some more games before eating lunch. After that everyone went to their rooms and rested for a while. Then we took a little walk to the neighborhood park and played for about an hour. After we got home I continued to learn some card tricks from my cousin. We ate dinner and did havdalah, and then watched the Eurovision. It was so nice to be able to see my family that my mom was so close with when she was younger. I loved spending time in a part of Israel we won’t get to see and being able to meet my cousins.

Avery Milota

During Shabbat, I stayed with my cousins in Tekoa. Friday night we went to shul and I got to see the neighborhood a little bit and enjoy the beautiful weather. We had a nice dinner and then went to sleep. Saturday, I got to sleep in until 8:30 am and then headed to shul. I learned how to play lots of card games with my cousin and her friends and went to the park with them. We had a really good lunch at one of their friends’ houses and later after Shabbat we watched Eurovision! Tekoa is such a unique area and I’m glad I was able to be there.

Isabella Bodzin

This weekend for host shabbat I stayed with my aunt, uncle, and cousins in Ma’ale Adumim. I haven’t been to see them since I was Sophie’s age!  On Friday, we prepared for Shabbat and had a delicious dinner. After dinner, my cousin Matan and I went on a walk and saw the beautiful views of the city. It was amazing to look out and see so much beauty. On Saturday, we woke up and went to shul. Then, we prepared for lunch and had some guests over. After lunch, we all took our Shabbat nap and went on another walk around the neighborhood. When we got back, we played a very intense game of Rumikub and did havdalah. After Shabbat was over, we went out for pizza and watched Eurovision! This was the first time in years I was able to see the whole family at the same time and it was very special. It was so meaningful to experience Shabbat in the home of the Jewish people, especially in a majority observant area where you could really experience the holiness of the day.

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