Day 21 – Fun in the sun
My name is Yosef Morrison and I am from Teaneck, NJ. The reason I came on Israel ID was because I want to grow closer with the land of Israel and wanted to meet many new friends. Israel ID is the perfect program for these goals. Israel ID creates an atmosphere where one can travel over the entire Israel while gaining a closer connection to Israel and Hashem. Monday was the best day ever! First, color war broke out right after davening which was awesome. Then we went raft building which was really hard. We needed to create a raft out of bamboo sticks, barrels, and wooden boards. Once we finished building the rafts, we raced on them in the Kineret. Afterwards, we had time to swim around in the beautiful water. After that we had a scrumptious lunch of gourmet shnitzel sandwiches. Next, we went on a really cool water hike and had a blast. We all splashed each other and saw nature at its finest. In order to connect to our roots we went to the grave sites of the Rambam and Rebbe Meir Baal HaNeis. Those rabbeim are very important to Jewish nation. To end off the day, we went on an astonishing boat cruise on the Kineret. On the cruise they turned on music and we danced and played limo. It was so much fun and definitely a highlight. After that was time for dinner. We went to an amazing steak house and ate so much food. They made fresh pita which was delicious. Today was an amazing day! I’m so happy that I came on Israel ID.
Day 16 – Yom NCSY!
My name is Oryah Bensalmon, and I’m from Toronto, Canada. I came on Israel ID because I knew that it would be an inspirational and moving experience that would really aid me to improve and grow religiously and spiritually through connecting to the holy land of Israel.
Today, we travelled to the the blind museum in Tel Aviv. The special quality that the blind museum possesses is that the group is brought into the exhibition while not being able to see anything surrounding them. This allowed the group to enter the mindset of a visually impaired person, and the struggles they face daily.
After the blind museum, we progressed to the diaspora museum, near the University of Tel Aviv. The diaspora museum focused on the Jewish people who were scattered throughout Chutz Laaretz following the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash. The museum was a highly interactive and entertaining exhibition, which helped our group gain a vast amount of knowledge in regards to Jews outside and inside of Israel.
After a lovely picnic lunch, Israel ID volunteered at Save a Child’s Heart. Save a Child’s Heart is a lifesaving organization that provides medical care to children in developing countries, free of charge. We were privileged enough to have the opportunity to play with the children being helped by Save a Child’s Heart, and brighten their day by putting a smile on their faces. This was my favourite part of the day, because it made me realize how lucky we are to live in countries that have immediate access to medical care at any given moment. Being with these sick children hit me really hard, and it makes me want to make a difference in this world and help in any way possible.
After giving back to the less fortunate, we travelled to Yom NCSY, which is a massive concert that all 19 NCSY Summer programs attend. This event was probably the most fun I’ve ever had. Joining with the other programs, making new friends, and overall having an amazing time was a memory I will never forget. I am so thankful that Israel ID has given me such a memorable experience so far, and I can’t wait for the rest of the trip.
Day 15 – Standing on the shoulders of giants
Hi my name is Eve Vaknin I’m from Houston, Texas. This summer I went on my first NCSY program and from only the first few weeks I can honestly say I am having “the best summer ever”! Israel In Depth is not only fun but has truly inspired me to become a more proud Jew and feel a deep connection to this country.
Today was a very eventful and emotional day for me. The two places that stuck out the most were Yad Vashem and Har Hertzel. Yad Vashem is a Holocaust memorial museum. Once you walk into Yad Vashem you feel a special energy and connection to the building and our Jewish roots. This was a very hard place for me to go to because it reminds me of one of the most tragic times in Jewish history. Yad Vashem will now always be apart of me, it’s touched me in a way no other place has ever before.
After Yad Vashem we had a delicious lunch brought to us by burgers bar! I was very happy to finally eat delicious meat food.
After that we went to another powerful place, Har Hertzel. Just walking through the gates made me break down into tears, but not only sad ones, but grateful ones because I learned these amazing and brave soldiers put their lives on the line for ours and the country of Israel. It is truly inspiring and makes me want to be apart of this country even more. We also got to hear the most amazing stories of chayalim, soldiers and the way they changed peoples lives. This makes me wonder how I can do the same and make my mark, and that’s through NCSY. NCSY and Israel ID has changed the way I connect to my religion and see Judaism in a whole different light and it’s truly one of the brightest lights out there.
Shabbos in Neta & Tisha Ba’av
My name is Menachem Mendel Rabizadeh and I am from Great Neck New York. Growing up I have always heard about NCSY and how they have inspired so many people and instilled a love of Judiasm in them. My mom was very active with NCSY when she was young, attending Shabbatons and events. They even sent her to Isreal with a scholarship when she was my age. My mom always tells me how NSCY has helped her become more spiritual and provided her with some amazing memories. This is my first time ever on an NCSY program, and the main reason that I decided to go to Isreal with them is because I wanted to develop my love for the land and for Hashem. I could’ve went on any other program but the fact that NCSY has effected so many peoples lives and been a part of my family, the choice was obvious.
This weekend was one of the most powerful weekends I have ever had in my life, no exaggeration. We started off Shabbat by welcoming the angels outside our hotel. During our prayers we focused on the sunset and watched it set while we were singing Mizmor le David. Something that we see every single day is usually taken for granted. We are so jaded by the beutiful things in life such as the sunset, but we have to take a step back and appreciate the wonders that Hashem gives to us. After Kabalat Shabbat we all walked into the dining hall and were greeted by our fellow NCSY group TJJ. Although we did not know many of the kids or advisors that were on TJJ, the warmth that they exerted made us feel like we were family. We all got up on out chairs and started singing Shabbat songs at the top of our lungs. The fact that all of us were singing for shabbat together really made us feel united, despite the fact that we didnt know each other. The Shabbat meal was delicious, and sitting down and shmoozing with all of our friends and advisors really added to the Shabbat experience. After dinner we made friends with a few kids from the other programs and had an oneg Shabbat where we sang and had delicious snacks until curfew.
Getting up for Shabbat was so exciting. The morning service was run perfectly, and almost everyone was included in the prayers weather it by lifting the Torah, carrying it or saying Birkat ha Torah. Torah reading was lead by our director, Rabbi Yoni Pollock and advisor Tzvi Vogel. Following prayers we joined TJJ once again for a delicious lunch. After we benched we had a few hours of free time where we rested, talked to our advisors or hung out with friends. We met up once again to learn a little. The way learning works is that we split up in small groups and have an individual learning time with our advisors based on what we want to learn. After learning we got to the best part of shabbat, where we ebb Shabbat away. All of us got together on the hotel balcony and sat in a circle. We watched the sunset while singing meaningful songs and listening to Rabbi Yoni interpret them for us.
When shabbat ended we transitioned into Tisha ba’av where we changed into non-leather shoes and started fasting. Our program started off with the reading of Eicha. After this we watched many videos on how the destruction of the Beit Ha Mikdash relates to us right now. The root of all sadness and evil in the world right now is because we don’t have the Beit Ha Mikdash. Knowing this, we can identify all the harship in our lives to the destruction of the Beit Ha Mikdash. We all sat on the floor of a dark room and concentrated our emotions on the destruction of the Beit Ha Mikdash and how all of Bnei Yisreal have to stick together. Following the program, we all got up and sat outside in a circle by a small fire. We started off once again by singing. The singing during ebbing was amazing, but this was something else. The amount of emotion prayer that was put into the singing was unparalled. After this, two of our campers had the courage to talk about their experiences in life and all the pain, anxeity and deppresion that they went through. These two stories evoked so many emotions out of all of us and brought many of us to tears. This set the stage for other people to talk the hardships they had to go through. What I can say for myself is that this was the most emotional and beutiful night I have ever had in my life. Everyone goes through something in their life, and the fact that our program came together and understood each others pain and suffering was remarkable. I was truly inspired by every single story and put to tears. That night will be a night I will never forget.
This vibe lasted all throughout Tisha ba’av day aswell. Shachrit and kinos were filled with emotion and the yearning for the third Beit Ha Mikdash to be built. Before the fast ended, we headed to the kotel, where almost every other program was their. It was so astonishing seeing Jews from America, Israel, Canada, England, Mexico and many more coming together and being untied as one. Everyone was putting their arms around each other and singing in unison. We prayed arvit at the kotel and broke out fast on some snacks. After that, we headed to an amazing dairy restruant where we all sat down on one table and enjoyed an amazing meal together. We talked, laughed, and thanked G-D for the food he put before us. I can truly say that after this weekend NCSY Israel ID is my second family.
Day 10 – Bridging the Gaps
Hi! I’m Meira Singer from Toronto, Canada. This is my first time on an NCSY Summer program, and thankfully I am on the best one, Israel ID! Everyday we do different activities that help us connect to the land. Today, we started off another inspiring day, with a meaningful Shacharit followed by our daily Chaburahs. Our Chaburahs are led by our amazing advisors that teach us and discuss different Torah topics every morning. After this, the whole group travelled to a beautiful lookout point in Haifa, where we played games and took beautiful pictures. We then headed to a bowling alley/arcade where the staff and kids both played and ate ice cream! Then, we went to a park where we had a ‘make your own falafel’ station! So cool! After this delicacy, we went on a small hike and walked across two beautiful, tall bridges where we were at one with nature and really connecting to the land around us. To end off this amazing day, we traveled to Eliyahu Hanavis cave and davend Mincha. There, I was personally able to feel connected to the navi Eliyahu and felt a meaningful vibe. Overall, it was another fantastic, inspiring, and fun-filled day! I can’t wait for tomorrow!!
Day 9 – We had a smashing day!!!
Hi, my name is Malka Daniels from Toronto, Canada and I’m a proud camper on NCSY Israel ID! I began to get involved in NCSY this past year and fell in love with all it has to offer. Since I have never experienced israel before, I decided to participate in the best program to see all that Israel has to offer as well as to create international bonds with people across North America and especially to expand my growth and knowledge in my spirituality.
We began this day waking up in the gorgeous city of Shlomi and soon after davening and breakfast, we split into learning groups (chaburahs) to having enlightening discussions with our advisors. Soon after our chaburah we headed to the bus to drive to our hiking location, Har Meron in the Upper Galilee. The view we had of the beautiful land of Israel was astonishing, if we were to have continued on the path, in a short 6 week hike, we could go from the North of Israel, past Jerusalem, and all the way to the South of Israel, Eilat. However the 2 hour hike around the mountain was more than enough to make us exhausted and ready for lunch. We stopped by a nice sitting area where there was an array of different delicious sandwiches as well as muffins, cold water, and fresh plumbs straight from Hashem!!! Then back on the bus so we can go to visit the kever of Rab Shimon Bar Yochi. Before going in, Yoni, our super incredible director, spoke about what made Rav Shimon so great and how he brings together every kind of Jew. Once inside, we began to daven and feel the holiness this place aluminates. On the way back to Shlomi we stopped at a grocery store to stock up on Israeli snacks and so the advisors can buy a bunch of eggs for our night activity. Back at our hostile, we had dinner, our nightly family groups, and davened Marriv. After that, we went to the basketball courts for our night activity which was a trivia game about the advisors, with a little twist. In a normal trivia game there are buzzers and whoever pushes it first has the chance to answer the question. However tonight we swapped buzzer for eggs and whoever was the first to smash it on their head was able to answer the question and win a point for their family. The prize was free ice cream for the winning family next time we stop at an ice cream place. Mazel tov to Ahava’s family for being the winner of last nights activity.
The day included physical activity, incredible sight seeing, experiencing holy sights, and cheering on one another as we were covered in raw egg, growing together and truly becoming one mishpacha. This day perfectly sums up how amazing Israel ID is and all the things we focus on throughout the summer to make incredible memories.
Day 8 – My happy place
Hi! My name is Zach Schwartz, and I am from Dallas, Texas (home to the greatest football team on earth). I chose to be a part of NCSY Israel ID, not only to make life long friends and have the experience of a lifetime, but to create a deep and everlasting connection with the land of Israel.
Yesterday was a day packed with so many memorable experiences and unforgettable moments. It will easily be one of the main highlights from this trip. We started off the day in our daily Chaburahs where we enjoyed learning with our advisors about very relevant topics that apply to every day activities. Next, we went repelling down a thrill-inducing cliff and ate lunch in a beautiful woodsy area. Shortly after, we went touring through water caves carved out decades ago. We also enjoyed the ever-expanding view of the Rosh Hanikra coastline under the bright silver Israeli sun. Later, we biked across the golden beaches showered by an orange-scarlet sunset. To top off another amazing day in Israel, we had delicious homemade pizza for dinner. If I could live every day like this one, I would be the happiest person alive. I can’t wait to have more days like these throughout the trip.
Day 7 – Spirituality and sunshine in Tzfat
Hi! My name is Rebecca Krausz and I’m from New York. I chose NCSY Israel ID because I fell in love with the organization and advisors from events during the year. Today we once again had an amazing day full of cool and interesting activities. We went to Tzfat and heard this inspiring artist, Avraham, speak about his art! It was so cool for me. I saw all these intriguing paintings that I instantly loved. Once he told us what they represent, I just had to buy one! Next, we went to an artist who creates beautiful works of art through glass blowing. We watched in awe as she showed us how to make a glass cup and the life messages it represents. We then had awesome pizza for lunch and went through a market full of jewelry and funky t-shirts. Then we were split into two groups and one went to an old age home while the other, my group, went to a hospital to visit kids. I cannot describe to you how precious these kids were. Even though most did not speak English, they still smiled back and enjoyed our company! Next, we got free time to roam around Tzfat for dinner where all the main restaurants are. Dinner was followed by a crazy cool cave experience that Rabbi Yoni and the advisors surprised us with! We sang songs in the dark cave and then we walked back to the bus. Singing in the darkness, standing in a circle in an almost pitch black cave, with the echo of everyone’s voice surrounding you was incredible and uplifting. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.
Day 6 – Independence and street art in Tel-Aviv
My name is Nicole van Amerongen and I’m an advisor on NCSY Israel ID. I came on ID this summer with the hopes of inspiring and being inspired by each of our amazing NCSYers. This morning we started off our trip with a bus ride to Tel Aviv. Our first stop was Independence Hall. There we watched a video explaining all of the history surrounding the very important building. Next, we were able to sit in the room where the State of Israel was declared by David Ben Gurion. The experience was surreal as each part of the room was maintained and looked identical to each of the videos I’ve seen of the declaration. Outside of Independence Hall we chilled in the shade and ate a very yummy lunch. Our next stop was a graffiti tour in Florentin. We were taken around the streets to see some of the coolest art and the tour guides explained to us the significance of each one. Then we were able to try it out for ourselves! We each took a spray can and wrote whatever we wanted. We were also able to design a bag or an old record with spray paint. I have never done something like this before! It was so cool! After the graffiti tours we chilled in a park and cooled down with some ices. We then got back onto the bus and headed to our home for the next four days: Shlomi. We ate dinner and met with our family groups before moving onto night activity. We all played line-up on the courts of Shlomi and hung out. Cannot wait for whatever tomorrow brings!
Hi my name is David Bargraser and I’m from Houston, Texas. I came on Israel ID because I wanted to come experience Israel and connect with the holy land.
This Shabbat was amazing. I had a great time. We started off Friday night by going to the OU center in Jerusalem. Friday nights are very special to me, because I know most of the prayers in the Kabbalat Shabbat services. This let me really connect to myself and to the holy land.
Saturday prayers were long as usual. I learned that a double parsha does not mean that we have to do double the aliyahs. Saturday day prayers were not as inspirational. (Due to me not knowing the prayers very well.) What really touched me was the ebbing Saturday night. I truly felt a real connection. I don’t know how to describe it. Even though I did not know all of the words to the songs I closed my eyes and just listened, it was truly beautiful. This was the first time I had ever felt this feeling. During this period of ebbing I decided to challenge myself.
I challenged myself to become a better Jew. WHAT does that mean?! I decided to apply to YU and spend next summer in the Holy Land. I LOVE this place. Before I had no desire to apply to YU nor spend my time in this country. Thank you to Rabbi YOPO, all the advisers, and my ID family for making me feel this way, I believe each of you has impacted me in some way or another.