Looking Back on NCSY Summer 2016
Thoughts from our last day together as ICE ISRAEL 2016
Hello parents trying to get a window into your child’s life, it’s Akiva Levy here and I’m gonna give you exactly what your looking for and then some. Today is our last day and as expected there are a few girls making it way to emotional than it should be. The day started off with us going orienteering in the Ben Shemen Forest. That was followed by a pizur lunch which was practically a pizza lunch, since we can’t have meat during the nine days and most places are meat. We then went to the old city to ebb the trip away and write letters to ourselves. This made me think about the amazing and inspiring past four weeks of bonding, inspiration, and lifelong memories. Leading to the Kotel which was a great place to end the trip accumulating all the inspiration into 10 minutes with just us and G-D. We finished off our program with a banquet at Papagaio’s which was great food and luckily we were able to have meat. During which the staff gave each NCSYer a book and said some things about them which showed us what great people we are and the kids we are surrounded by. It is really sad that this program can to an end, but ending ICE Israel 2016 made a new beginning of a lifelong adventure for all of us. Signing of for everyone, Akiva Levy- Stay classy San Francisco
Perspectives from Feras Volvo Bus Driver
I fun with kids ncsy. Lots smiles and Payos. Drive left, drive right, drive straight, drive back, soo fun. Honk honk honk. I love trip meah shearim. Hug bus again, love u!
Mermaid perspective on ICE
As the only mermaid on ICE Israel I have found it to be an experience that has allowed me to grow in my spirituality. I know what you’re thinking…how in the world did I hear about this program?! I once was taking a swim at a beach in Los Angeles contemplating what I should do with my life and thinking about how I can bring my love for Judaism to the next level when I came across Malkie and Tzvi Hametz. I overheard them talking about their plans for the summer and it sounded exactly what I was searching for. I worked up the courage and introduced myself to them. Surprisingly they did not freak out when they saw my tail and that’s how I knew that I had to go on this trip. Many people ask me “what is it like?” or “where’s your mermaid tail?” Well the answers are pretty simple. You see, I am in Israel ir hakodesh and I am trying to find myself as well as experience the land to its fullest potential. Touring with a tail will just hold me back. I’m not saying that I am not satisfied with who I am but you must understand that feet simply work on land better than a tail. I mean, haven’t you seen The Little Mermaid? (Ariel actually happens to be my second cousin once removed.) Malkie and Tzvi are truly the nicest people who genuinely care for everyone’s needs because they specially planned trips involving water just so I could feel more at home. We’ve done water hikes, went to the beach, yam hamelach, and even visited my friends at the aquarium! I feel that I was able to enhance the experience at the aquarium for everyone because I was able to help the kids and staff talk to all of the sea creatures. This experience has taught me that it’s okay to be different and that it’s okay express myself. Thank you NCSY ICE Israel for the experience of a lifetime. I can’t wait to tell all of the merpeople about it!
Further thoughts from yesterday
We went to Kever Rachel today. It was quite an emotional experience because it’s not only our mother’s memory that we visit but also that of a girl named Nava Applebaum. She perished in a bombing with her father just a few hours before her wedding and the fabric of her wedding dress hangs by Rachel’s grave.
We also visited the graves of our fore fathers and mothers. We learned about their sufferings and victories and why it is important that we carry on their legacies.
We also discovered that, even though the news portrays Chevron as a dangerous place with no possible way to lead a normal life, it is more than safe to live and even have fun. For example, zip-lining, rock climbing, and a ropes course. It was an amazing experience to see the country side while speeding across a small valley on the zip-line. And to test our strength with the ropes course and rock climbing.
– Bre Kelsoe
Perspectives from Tour Guide Arky
Wooooohoooo!!!! Ice Israel!!! What a summer!! Yeahhhh!!!!!! #icezekanviyallahbalagan!!!! I’m gonna miss u guys!!! #pleasedontcrapeme #bus3
This is the best summer of my life! I have had such a fantastic time with this group. I sit back at night thinking how I became a tour guide JUST for ICE Israel summer sixteen! When we first began the trip I was nervous, it being only my second group. However, this group blew my mind. They are all so witty and knowlegable! Even when we do count off they are way too fast to count. Needless to say, I wouldn’t have been able to get through this summer without the amazing ICE staff and the logistics person! Logistics was so on point and organized, it even felt like I was doing it myself!
In conclusion, this summer has really taught me that I work well with others, can go to sleep at 8 o’clock, and that the tour guide life is really for me.
Definitely written by Arky Staiman
Kever Rachel, Me’arat Hamachpela, Ziplining and Ropes Course in Gush Etzion
Coming to Israel, it is always important to be educated about the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish people.
We started off our day today by making a trip to Kever Rachel on an armoured bus. When we arrived, we first learned a little bit about Rachel’s life. Afterwards, we were given time to daven inside the Kever.
We then made our way to Maarat Hamachpela. There, we broke in to various small sessions where we learned about Avraham and Sarah, Yaakov and Leah, and Esav. Each session focused on teaching about the life of one person buried at Maarat Hamachpela.
After being in Chevron, we made our way to Efrat to have a delicious lunch followed by rock climbing and zip lining in Gush Etzion.
Once we were all worn out from the day’s activities, we headed back to the hotel for dinner and Chaburah sessions. Thereafter, we had an amazing privilege to hear from Rabbi Mendelovich and about his journey from Russia to Israel. Lastly, we finally got our finished tie-dye shirts from last week to finish off the day.
Shabbat in Yerushalayim
This past Shabbos was prodigious. First, we davened mincha and Kabbalat Shabbat on a rooftop overlooking the old city. Then we made our way to the Kotel, where I got my first view of the age old site in the dark. The contrast of the pearl colored wall against the night sky made it all the more so astounding. After eating dinner at the OU center, we took a nice long walk through Jerusalem back to our hotel. The next day we davened at our hotel, went to the local park (where I refined my Frisbee skills), and got to hear from a soldier and former soldier who is currently studying at the Technion. One thing is for certain: while this may have been my last weekend with ICE, it gave me a feeling of satisfactory finality.
– Yaakov Miller
Save a Child’s Heart, Surfing, Independence Hall, Shuk in Yafo
Waking up this morning, all I could think about was being able to bring a smile to someone’s face with the smallest acts of giving. Being at Save A Child’s Heart showed me that there are people in this world who would do anything to help someone else in need. Knowing that I was a part of changing these kid’s lives, gave me a sense of happiness and thankfulness for creating joy in their lives and having an appreciation for what I have. Soon after we went to the grocery store and were given money to create a menu for our lunches today. Each group was assigned a certain item and together we created a delicious lunch. After we finished we got a once in a lifetime of experience of being taught how to surf on the beach in Tel Aviv. Even though I wasn’t very good at it, and fell many times, I had such a fun time with everyone. We then went to the Independence Hall and learned about the true and rich history of the state of Israel and how it was founded. We then made our way to the old Yafo shuk and we were able to enjoy free time with everyone and explore the shops and different cultures of Tel Aviv.
– Yoneena Heit
Reflections from 2 days ago – Mayan Teles
Yesterday we started the morning bright and early at 4:15 for a sunrise hike in Eilat. The trail was long and sandy, and we were exhausted. However the tip of the Mountain made everything worth it. We arrived at the top just as the sun was rising. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. The sky transformed from grey to bright orange, gold, and yellow as the sun rose. After we watched sunrise we davened shacharit and then hiked back to the bottom.
Later on , after we ate breakfast, we got on the bus to go to water sports and snorkeling. The snorkeling was amazing. The water was four different shades of turquoise and filled with incredible bright colored fish. We visited the aquarium afterwards, which gave us a chance to see all the fish that we missed while snorkeling. I’m normally not a huge fan of aquariums, but I really enjoyed this one. It has an under water observatory were we could look at the fish in the ocean instead of in a tank, which was cool because we got to see them in their natural habitat.
After we got back to the hotel, rested, and had dinner, we made our way to the board walk in Eilat. There we shopped, got food, and went on rides.
Overall the activities gave us a great chance to see how beautiful the land of Israel is and gain a better appreciation for it.