After an incredible Shabbat in Jerusalem, we headed to the city of Holon where started the fifth day of the Chesed Mission. On the way, we got to see the beautiful farms and gardens by the mountains of Israel. We went to the Children's Museum of Israel, where we did Dialogue in the Dark - the Blind Museum. We felt our way through the pitch black series of rooms. It was a lot of fun! We couldn't see anything. We didn't know where we were walking so we bumped into our friends. As we were guided from room to room, we began to get used to not seeing and our bodies began to be less dependent on our eyes and more on our other senses. Some of the rooms that we went through were a typical bedroom, a supermarket, a boat, and a snack bar. We touched the surface of the everyday life of people that are visual impaired or blind. In the bedroom, we experienced picking out our clothes without seeing. In the supermarket, we shopped for the foods that we need on a weekly basis and didn't see anything that we were choosing. We developed some understanding of what people that are blind have to go through as they live their lives each day. We respected our tour guides that were blind and saw beyond their disabilities. While in the dark, we felt disabled while our tour guides were leading us and helping us get through it. We appreciate that we have been blessed with the ability to see and hope that we will never take it for granted in the future.
Later on in the day, we went to Save A Child's Heart (SACH) foundation. This organization blew us away with the mission of their lifesaving project. It brings children from over 50 countries that require heart surgeries for heart transplants or heart repairing to Israel to survive. Politics and religion does not matter to SACH. It does not discriminate. Nearly half of the children that they operate on and care for children from countries all around the world. This organization also educates physicians in developing countries to perform heart surgeries. We distributed gifts to the children that were being cared for by this organization. Some were post surgery and some were waiting for upcoming surgeries. We danced and sang with these children and couldn't get enough of their cute smiles!
After a really fun time, we traveled to the Emunah Achuzat Sarah Children's Home in Bnei Brak, where children at risk from challenges homes live. As soon as we arrived, we were all given presents. The children gave us dried fruit because tonight starts Tu B'shvat! We said berachot on the fruits to celebrate the holiday of the trees, or Chag Hailanot. After dinner, we brought the children that are turning 12 and 13 gifts to celebrate their upcoming bat and bar mitzvahs. After meeting the children, we danced and sang with them, which made them so happy.
Then, we drove about an hour and a half to an army base where we met the IDF soldiers of that specific base. We thanked them for their dedicated and outstanding service to protect the State of Israel and by them doing this, protecting Jews all over the world. Following the prayer for the soldiers of Israel that Rabbi Besser recited, we sang beautiful Hebrew songs with the soldiers. We distributed care packages to each of the soldiers at this base and got to know them. We're excited for the rest of the week in Israel and are having so much fun doing chesed together! ~Sarah Torgueman, Class of 2016