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About The Trip



It’s two weeks into the ICE Israel experience and all of the campers, including myself have been aching for a day of rest and relaxation. Early wake-ups and late curfews, we have been running on empty. Hikes of all varieties, we have already had a water hike, a hike up a mountain, a hike down a mountain and through a valley. And all during the nine days. We needed to relax by the water. But it wasn’t yet time. Tisha B’av we had a brief mix in with BILT, Kollel, and TJJ at the Kotel and had a giant NCSY style kumzitz. We were all stressed, sweaty and starving. After a week of strenuous activities, such as midnight yoga sessions in the Bedouin’s tent (during the armies training), disobedient camels trying to eat hair or more hikes on a lack of sleep, we needed a break. But now we were finally at the breaking point when we arrived this morning in Eilat. A simple hike, followed by a relaxing day of water sports and beach hang outs. Now as a guy, the guy session was as blissful as it could have gotten. We bonded over the lack of girls and making jokes about random bits of the trip. Snorkeling was very cool. We saw Dori’s and parrot fish, as well as man other varieties of which I don’t know. But when we finished the brief session we all swam in the designated pool area and played until the girls arrived on the bus to go snorkeling. On the bus ride to the guys next activity, I can honestly say, we spoke to one another as if we were brothers. Banana boating was a blast. Kayaking and paddle boats next was just another small thing that took away a load of stress, and a great work out too. We ended up being towed back to shore because of how far out we got! Once we got near the shore we were pulled in by Yisrael who proudly towed the boat, even though his face turned green like the hulk! Next we took a stroll the the beach. We tanned, skipped rocks, spoke about sports and just simply relaxed. By far, today was the most relaxed, yet most productive day we have had so far on ICE Israel, but that’s just my opinion. If you want the girls opinion, you will need to ask them. But all in all today was simply bliss.

the icicles: don’t stop believing

The ICEicles: I Want It That Way

Shabbat in the Old City by Miryam Cohen

This Shabbat was one of the most meaningful Shabbats I’ve ever experienced. Beginning at the Kotel,we enjoyed singing Kabbalat Shabbat with many different groups and Israeli girls at the Kotel which was very inspiring. That was just the beginning. We ate and slept at a hotel INSIDE the old city which just felt incredible. To open our windows and see the old city was really extraordinary and impacted how I felt through out the whole entire Shabbat. We returned to the Kotel for Shacharit. We spent the day in the hotel and walking around in the Rova. Havdalah was beautiful. In the middle of the old city we sang for so long with groups staring and taking pictures. This Shabbat brought us all together and really really made us a family. It was life changing in the best way possible. I’ll never forget our Shabbat in the old city.

A Poem by Elen Peysakhova and Ellie Selevan

We started our day nice and early
Our bags were packed, hair long and curly
A cave called Marasha was our first stop
Through low ceilings and twisty turns
We got on our hands and had a great drop
The sun led us to an archeological sight
With an axe in our hands we dug with might
Charcoal, pots, and bones we found
We brushed off our knees and were once again bus bound
We made our way to cave number two
Little did we know the small holes we would crawl through
For Barkochba cave we had to get on the ground
And wiggle and slide our way around
Cave number three was magical in many ways
Stalagmites formed in fantastic shapes
It was as if it was made by clay!
After an amazing day we head back to the hotel
To our NCSY friends, our stories we did tell!

Leah Israel: What a Wonderful Experience!

Waking up at 6:15 in the morning is not easy for anyone, but when you are told that your first activity of the day would be going to an Ethiopian absorption center, suddenly you no longer feel tired and your energy and excitement is raised to the next level. The concept of an Ethiopian absorption center is to help Jews from Ethiopia make Aliyah to Israel, learn life skills, and integrate into society. We started off with a brief discussion about their daily lives at the absorption center as well as their lives before and after their journey to Israel. The next part is what we all patiently anticipated most, the day care.  At first it was overwhelming both for us and the children. We didn’t know what to expect from them and the kids had all these strangers they had never seen before asking them questions and interacting with them. Within minutes the scene was filled with smiling children playing, dancing, and laughing with people they felt they had known forever. We did arts and crafts with the children, then made our way outside where we played soccer and danced while they were hoisted on our shoulders. The contentment on these children’s faces was priceless. When it was time to leave we all wished we could stay there all day. We said goodbye to the children and exchanged hugs. At that very moment everyone knew that we did not just make their day, but they made ours.
     With a great start to the day, we loaded the bus for yet another adventure. We traveled to Mount Meiron and did a nature walk along the Pisga Trail. We stopped to look at the beautiful view along the trail and returned to have a picnic lunch.
    Our next stop was to the village of Prekiin and experienced the unique way of traditional Druze hospitality. We were welcomed with an array of assorted drinks and delicious Baklava (a sweet traditional pastry). The room was covered in lavish tapestries and we comfortably sat while we listened to the rich history of the Druze people. Spices could be purchased as well as hand made jewelry. Leaving Pekiin was yet another challenge but we knew we had to make our way to the next location.
    The beautiful sea side city of Akko was next on our list. We began with an informational video about the city’s heritage, culture, and history. Following the video we made our way to the underground tunnels. The ruins of an ancient bathroom were visible and I think we all now appreciate the bathrooms we have today. On our way to the bus, we strolled the streets of Akko and marveled at the different stores and the goods that were sold. As we loaded the bus for the last time of the day, excitement was in the air because we knew that our next destination would be the holiest city in the world, Jerusalem.
-Leah Israel


Jake Mordfin: My Experience So Far

So this is my second time in Israel and I am really enjoying it. So far we went hiking three times, donkey riding, jeeping, rafting, biking, and party boating. Today we went and helped at an Ethiopian Absorption Center with the the little Ethiopian children. We played with them, put them on our shoulders and had a lot of fun. Shabbat was one of my favorite parts of this trip; we had time to rest and relax which was nice because our schedule is always packed with awesome activities, with awesome advisors. This trip is really helping me learn the culture and the ways of the land. I hope everyone can have the opportunity to go to Israel and experience this great country. 

                                                            Jake Mordfin

Caitlyn Franks-An Awesome First Week

Friday was a day full of fun activities! We woke up super early (6am!) and drove to the scenic Chula Valley Nature Reserve to go bike riding. The bike trail was approximately 6 miles long. A few hours later, we returned to the nature center feeling tired but accomplished. The best part about the biking trip was seeing all the NCSYers help each other out on the trail. A few bikes had technical difficulties along the way, but many NCSYers would immediately stop and assist them. At the halfway point on the way back, I nearly passed out and had to pull over. My advisors suggested that I take my time and catch my breath, and with their help I eventually recovered. One of my advisors, Ellie, stayed by my side throughout the trail. I was determined to finish the trail on my bike, and about 15 minutes later we were on our bikes singing Israeli songs and having a blast! When the other advisors saw me and Ellie returning at full speed, they were so proud that I was able to pull through the entire 6 miles. A major life lesson I learned that day is that life will sometimes throw obstacles in your path, but with an optimistic attitude and determination we can always pull through. 

After our biking experience, we went river rafting on the Jordan river. Everyone gathered into groups and rafted down the river as a team. The best part was the splash battles. The Israeli families in the water playfully splashed us like we were brothers and sisters. Our boats bumped against each other, traded passengers, and had an all out soak-a-war!
We then returned to the Hotel Ron in Tzfat where we had a relaxing and refreshing Shabbat complete with a walking tour of the holy city and Ebbed Shabbat away in a traditional NCSY fashion. We capped off our first week with an awesome night cruise Motzai Shabbat  in the Tiberias harbor.
ICE Israel week one-success!!
– Caitlyn Franks

The most awesome hike and jeep ride (day 3) by Lily Swartz

We started off the day with a gorgeous hike down the Jilaboun canyon. Throughout the hike, there was beautiful scenery. We helped each other walk across rocks in rivers, climb up challenging stairs, and climb over large rocks on the pathway.  The teamwork was really great! The end of the hike comprised of a beautiful waterfall and view, followed by ice cream! Overall the hike was amazing. After that we went jeeping through the stunning Golan. We stopped various times to view the nature around us. In the jeeps, we drove fast over bumpy roads, and passed by animals, lakes and mountains. We even saw Tel Dan. This is where we were able to see the Bible come to life. We saw the oldest complete mud brick arch. Everyone really enjoyed their time on the jeeps. Next, we went back on the bus to visit an ancient shul in Katzrin, as well Kessem HaGolan. There we watched an interactive film, where we viewed different parts of the film in separate rooms. The film was about the story and the beauty of the Golan. We ended the day by visiting a military bunker at Mount Ben-Tal. This was a great way for us to really understand how soldiers lived under such poor conditions just to protect our country. The bunker was underground and dark. Overall, our day was jam-packed and extremely successful!

Day 2 by Shoshi Silow

The second day of ICE Israel started with a beautiful davening followed by out first group learning session. Then we hiked down Mount Arbel which overlooked the Kineret. It was very beautiful, but very scary. The hike consisted of walking down rocky cliffs. It was a great bonding experience, and the pride felt afterward finishing the hike was amazing.We then took a walking tour of old Tzefat and had some free time to shop in the Artists Quarter. Everything sold there was so unique and beautiful. Then, we went to Misgav Am where we saw into Lebanon from Israel’s frontier-it was crazy! To top off our crazy amazing day, we had an amazing night activity. We did crazy relay races. It was so out of my element, but so much fun! Thank for an amazing day!