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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chesed Mission 2014/5774: Day 5

On the fifth day of our Chesed Mission we ventured out to the Israel Children's Museum in Holon, visited the largest children's hospital in Israel, Schneider's Children Hospital, celebrated the Bar and Bat mitzvahs of the boys and girls at Achuzat Sarah Children's Home, and concluded with an amazing rock climbing session with rehabilitating Israeli soldiers through Tikvot.
We began our day early Sunday morning with an hour bus ride up to Holon. Once we finally arrived the students were split into two groups. One group experienced "Dialogue in the Dark," which sensitizes people to the challenges of the blind, while the others where simulated to the challenges of being deaf at "Invitation to Silence." Both groups left the museum with great stories to tell about their thoughts and experiences and gave praise to their amazing tour guides. This experience allowed us to step into the shoes of people with certain challenges in order to understand what they go through and how to overcome those challenges. 
We then headed to one of the largest children's hospitals in Israel, Schneider's Children's Hospital. We were once again split into groups designated to visit each floor, distributing toys and explaining our "mission" to the parents and patients. Leaving the hospital you could feel the sense of accomplishment knowing that there was a smile on each child's face as they received their gifts. After a quick lunch at a mall in  Petach Tikvah, we maneuvered the coach bus skillfully around the narrow streets of Bnei Brak until we arrived at Emunah's Achuzat Sarah Children's Home. Achuzat Sarah serves as a safe haven for children who face many challenges at home. This home offers children-at-risk places to sleep, hot meals and most importantly, love and care for as long as they want. The Yeshivah of Flatbush girls were able to make beautiful mezuzahs with the girls at Achuzat Sarah, while the Yeshivah of Flatbush boys were defeated in exhilarating games of soccer and basketball with the boys of Achuzat Sarah. We ended our visit there with an amazing Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration. Children from Achuzat Sarah who were celebrating their bar and bat mitzvah all received huge bags of goodies sponsored by the Yeshivah of Flatbush Elementary School Bat Mitzvah program and our Chesed Mission. Each bag contained personalized items such as tehilim and siddurim. We then danced and sang with all the children, which was a lot of fun.
To top off this exhilarating and action packed day, we met with a group of injured Israeli soldiers. They divulged in us their heart wrenching stories and each explained their personal connection to Project Tikvot, an organization that encourages and aids recovering soldiers to heal through the outlet of sports. We then had the opportunity to participate in a rock climbing activity with the soldiers, as they billeted us from the ground. Though every single one of us is inexplicably tired we look forward to what adventure awaits us tomorrow!  ~Merle Cohen