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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chesed Mission 2013/5773: Day 7

We started the day by visiting Ichilov Hospital. We walked around the hospital giving out gifts and meeting many children and teens that are struggling with cancer or recovering from surgeries. When we walked in to give a child a gift their parents were thankful and amazed at how we were spending our vacation. After covering 3 floors of the hospital with blankets, dolls, and toys, we then went to a Tel Aviv mall for lunch. It was packed with people because it was Election Day israel. Elections in Israel are very different than in America, as Rabbi Levy and Daniel our tour guide explained to us. Everyone gets the day off of school and work.

After we ate lunch and shopped for a bit we loaded the buses to go Go-Karting with injured soldiers from a project called Tikvot. Tikvot is an organization that finds injured soldiers and encourages them to believe that they can still live fulfilling lives. Tikvot encourages soldiers to participate in various sports in order to feel that they could accomplish many things. While half of us went go-karting, the other half listened to the stories of the injured soldiers and people wounded in terrorist attacks. We then switched so we were able to experience both amazing opportunities. Their stories truly inspired us and showed us how even though they were injured they do not regret fighting for their country and if they could, they would do it again.

After a day of fun on the track we loaded the buses to head to Beit Elezraki. Beit Elezraki is a home for children who were neglected, abused or abandoned by their parents and brought there by court order. We heard from Yehuda Kohn about Beit Elezraki's amazing mission of changing the life cycles if the children for the better. We then walked in to meet the children. We then listened to their choir and saw their dance group perform. We then began interacting with the children in a more intimate way over a delicious dinner. After introducing ourselves and getting to know them we began to dance and have a great time. We danced for hours non-stop enjoying every minute. Susan Franco then gave gifts to the bar and bat mitzvah children and the children who were graduating. Their choir will be going to NJ and NY next week and many of us plan to meet up with them to catch up and go for lunch. After saying goodbye we boarded the buses back to the hotel to have some food and pack up. The trip may almost be over but the chesed will never stop. It will keep going and going and going.... ~Odette Kasavi and Emily Shrem