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Thursday, January 16, 2014

YOF Israel STEM Trip 2014/5774 - Day 0 & 1

The STEM trip to Israel was scheduled to leave New York on Tuesday night, And we were truly psyched to get going! Unfortunately, it didn't go quite as planned. After mechanical difficulties with the plane our flight was delayed for over 3 hours, the passengers were finally ordered to exit the plane. The flight would be rescheduled for the next day at 4 pm. We were sad that we would miss some of the great activities that were planned but things came together anyway.  In spite of the difficulty it took to get here, we finally landed in Israel on Thursday morning, 9 AM Israel time. 
With no time left to waste, we went straight to the Technion and met with Dr. Harry Yuklea, serial entrepreneur and professor at the Technion. Although we did not get to go through with our original plans, talking to Dr. Yuklea about the university and its innovations were eye opening. He explained to us the idea of the new playground-looking devices placed throughout the city that are actually used for exercising. We even got to try them out. We were each given a book about the technion's contribution to Israel and the world, and were invited to try to come back to learn at the Technion some time in the future. 

We then went to Elbit, a company that creates electronic defense systems and integrated battle systems. There we met with Arik, head of the department specializing in air-force pilots helmets. He showed us the evolution of the helmet and the new technology developed over the years. The latest one, that we even got to try on, has a device that senses the motion of the pilot's head and shoots a missle in that direction. It also displays information on the glass of the helmet in front of your eyes. We were able to learn how many specific details and measurements are taken into consideration when creating such a device.

It was time for Mincha and we used the opportunity to drive to a beautiful lookout over the B'Hai Temple. We heard inspiring words from Kobi, our tour guide, with a special directive to each of to 'sim lev' put our hearts into everything we do.
Exhausted and hungry, we went back to the hotel for a lovely dinner and Tu b'shvat Seder, led by our tour guide, Kobi. We played games and learned about different fruits and about each other. Despite the hardship we faced getting here, the trip seems to be off to a great start. We can't wait to see what's in store for next! ~Rebecca Zami & Shaina Tstastkis