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Monday, January 21, 2013

YOFHS Israel STEM Trip Days 3 & 4

Shavua Tov! Sorry for not getting back so soon - it's been 3  incredible days since I've had a chance to write. Friday morning, we checked out of the Tal Hotel, bid farewell to Tel Aviv, and made our way up to Yerushalayim.  The main event of the day was a guided tour, with Muki Zohar, our excellent guide and new friend, through the ancient Ir David (City of David).  He seamlessly wove archeology and history with Tanach. It reminded us of the powerful Israel experience of walking in the footsteps of our ancestors through the ages.

We ended the visit with a tour through a newly opened tunnel that led directly to the northern part of the Kotel.  We stopped for a moment and were reminded of the story from the Talmud when Rabbi Akiva explained his laughing at seeing a fox in the place where the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed.  And 2000 years later, in an imperfect world, students from the Yeshivah of Flatbush were standing and learning Torah on that very spot.

We made our way to the Kotel and then on to Mahane Yehudah for treats for Shabbat! What a scene that was - the most crowded I've ever experienced! Yet everyone met with success and were well-stocked with Shabbat sweets.

Then on to the Inbal, to check in, prepare for Shabbat and meet up with the Chesed Mission.  We experienced the holiness of Shabbat with our friends from YOF and then shared with them the incredibly moving experience of going to an Army Base to say "todah" to the Israeli soldiers. There was singing, dancing, hugging and the presentation of gifts.  Thank you Rabbi Besser and Susan Franco for inviting us to be a part of this powerfully emotional evening.