1. Day 23 — Back in Jerusalem

    Happy 16th birthday Hallel! We started off our day with a powerful tour of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. We spent three hours learning about the hardships many of our ancestors went through. One of the most memorable moments of the experience were the few but compelling minutes of our tour through the children’s memorial. After a discussion on what we each thought was the most memorable part of the museum, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the museum before we began our tour of Mount Herzl, the national cemetery for Israeli leaders and fallen soldiers. We congregated in a circle to discuss what makes a great leader. Then we explored famous graves such as former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and the tragic final resting place of the assassinated Yitzhak Rabin. Following a short bathroom break, we commemorated the passing of a courageous IDF “lone soldier” who made aliyah to Israel and fought for his country to the very end.

  2. Day 22 — Hearing Stories

    Happy August 2nd! After packing up and leaving our hotel in Tiberias, we headed to Naharayim on the Jordanian border. We learned how the hydro-electric power plant functioned before the Independence War, and about the man who envisioned it all. While there, we learned about the Kibbutz’s struggles in the War of Independence. We then headed to a natural spring which was a lovely refresher from the heat.

  3. Day 21 — Music and Dancing

    It was such a great day ... and we barely have time to write! We toured the Golan Heights bunkers for a review of Israel’s military history, and by chance met two UN Peacekeepers.

  4. Day 20 — Singing and More Singing

    In order to beat the heat, No’ar Hadash started the day off early, trekking down Mount Arbel. Not only did we climb, hike, and sing through this famous site of Crusaders and Muslims fighting, but of course danced. This path may have been tough on the knees, but even more on the heart, as there was a steep and sketchy decline with just a rope to hold onto -- a great challenge to those scared of heights. At the end of the hike, we were welcomed by a wandering cow to a fresh spring, where we washed and refreshed.

  5. Day 19 — Shabbat

    This morning was relaxed; we slept in, had breakfast, and joined together for communal services. Services were led by "rabbis" Eva Nates and Yonit Slater, who made services engaging through meditation and song. After services, we began to brainstorm ideas for the No’ar Hadash t-shirt, which we will design ourselves. We jotted down certain pictures and words that embody special moments and values that we have gained throughout the course of our trip. The thought process continued up until lunch time at the hotel. After lunch, we headed down the the Kineret (Sea of Galilee) for a relaxing and sunny beach afternoon. We spent the majority of our beach time cooling off in the water. At around early evening, we headed back to the hotel for showers and more relaxation. A few people took advantage of this free time to exercise and clean up after the beach. Once the sun went down, we thoroughly enjoyed a Havdalah service,  which reminds everyone of a fun Saturday night at camp. We then headed to the city of Tiberias, one of the four Jewish holy cities in Israel, for dinner and to explore the shops and the downtown area. Overall, this Shabbat was very relaxing and fun, as we got to prepare for our last week in Israel and strengthen the already close bonds that have been created over the course of this trip.

  6. Day 18 — Exploring Co-Existence

    Hayom yom shishi (Today is Friday) Hayom yom shishi Machar Shabbat (Tomorrow is Shabbat) Machar Shabbat Shabbat m’nucha! (Shabbat means rest!)

  7. Day 17 — Up North

    After a hike, the day began with an overlook of Israel’s diverse landscape, from hilltops to city to the sea and even the border with Lebanon. Another short bus ride and we were going down the world’s steepest cable car which led us to natural grottos at Rosh Hanikra. We ventured through the caves, looking at clear blue pools of water that flooded in from the Mediterranean Sea.

  8. Day 16 — Haifa

    We went to see the Bahai Gardens and learned about the Bahai religion. We went inside the shrine and had to keep completely quiet out of respect for the holy site. We overlooked the gardens from above and saw the beautiful port city of Haifa in front of us. Next we went to the Umm el-Fahem art gallery where we played with some clay and sculpted some unique creations.

  9. Day 15 — North of Tel Aviv

    We departed from Tel Aviv and headed up north. The landscape was very different from the south. We were now surrounded by pine trees, olive trees and bushes instead of desert. Our first stop was the Ein Shemer Eco-existence Ecological Greenhouse where we listened to an eye-opening talk. An Arab-Israeli explained how Arab-Israelis feel in a Jewish country and her relation with Palestine. Their aim is to create bonds between Arab and Jewish kids and mold a future Israel with no stereotypes or preconceptions. The Greenhouse itself had a very nice purpose: kids and teens who have difficulties at school go to the greenhouse and use their imagination to solve day-to-day problems.

  10. Day 14 — More Tel Aviv

    We started today off by meeting with a speaker from IGY (Israeli Gay Youth), with whom we discussed how LGBTQ rights have progressed in Israel. We asked our speaker about what life in the army is like for LGBTQ youth and the strides that have been made to create a more inclusive environment.