Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Community Week IDF Day

DAY 9: Community Week (IDF Day), July 10 2017

Storyteller of the day: Atarah Gobrin

Today was our first full day in Eilat and it was amazing!!! We started the day early and did some activities where we played games and learned about the IDF. We did a "gadna" where we acted as soldiers and created a mock army experience in order to truly get in the Israeli IDF mindset. After that we divided into groups and discussed different controversial topics relating to the IDF, such as; should religious people be exempt from national service? Or do Israeli-Arabs have an obligation to serve if Israel is in a state of war with their home country? The conversations were fascinating and it was interesting to see such a diverse group of teens speak so openly and passionately about Israel. 

After lunch we wrote letters and made packages for lone soldiers who moved to Israel to volunteer for the IDF without their families. We did this with the help of members of The House of Suzan, which provides jobs for at risk youth. This activity was incredibly meaningful for me seeing as I was able to make a package for my sister (who later spoke to us on the panel). She is a Diller alumni and currently surving as a lone soldier. Later, we had a panel featuring Israelis pre, post and during their army service to speak to us about their experiences. 

To conclude the day we went on a tour of Lotar base. The base is a terror defence base primarily made up of reserve soldiers. We were able to see their army vehicles and got to hold different types of guns. It was a really exciting and educational day, we all got a true glimpse into the Eilat perspective on the IDF. I can't wait for tomorrow!

Past, Present, Future

DAY 8: Past, Present, Future, July 9, 2017

Storyteller of the day: Dana Aronowitz

Hey everyone! 

Today was a busy day! We started off the day by saying goodbye to our new friends from around the world as each cohort departs for community week. We then went to the Holocaust museum Yad Vashem. It was a very meaningful and unique experience for each fellow as each one relates to the holocaust differently. We had the opportunity to learn about the Holocaust as a whole but also as a more individualized way by hearing some personal stories. Afterwards we departed for Eilat! We had a very special opening ceremony with the Eilat fellows and their families.

Shabbat in Jerusalem

DAY 7: International Shabbaton July 8, 2017

Storyteller of the day: Sam Streicher

On Saturday, Diller cohorts continued celebrating Shabbat! Fellows were placed in different activity groups for the morning, where they held Shabbat-related discussions, further strengthening new friendships. After a few hours of free time, Diller groups were taken to a Jerusalem walking tour. Cohorts were led to the old city, and the Kotel, where Havdallah took place. After an incredible day, all the cohorts met on Ben Yehuda street to shop, eat and enjoy the excitement of the cultural hub! Cohorts no doubt had a full, but great day:)

International Shabbaton

DAY 6: International Shabbaton July 7, 2017

Storyteller of the day: Daniel David

On the 7th of July, we celebrated a big day for one of our very important members of the cohort. Charlotte's birthday! 

We woke up fairly early to be at breakfast by 7:45 from where we would take our suitcases to the bus down the road towards the bus. On the bus towards the drama workshop, I, Daniel David, made an exclusive appearance and rapped the schedule of the day to the song "passionfruit". We arrived at the drama workshop and Rotem, our instructor, knew very well what she was doing. She really got into our heads and made us explore different parts of ourselves. It was an incredible experience. 

Afterwards, we headed out to the international shabbaton and introduced ourselves and our country to the rest of the world. It was an incredible day and we all made so many new friends.

Present Day Changemakers

DAY 5: Present Day Changemakers July 6, 2017

Storyteller of the day: Leah Good

On July 7th the cohort woke up excited to make our way to Jerusalem. We left the kibbutz and headed straight to Tel Sheva for the Bat Hamidbar Workshop. We heard from an incredible Bedouin woman who told us her story of how she pursued her unique accomplishments of becoming educated and starting her own business. Not only were we inspired by her independence and determination, but we also got to have lots of fun and make our own natural all purpose rosemary oil! From the amazing workshop we went to Be'er Sheva for a delicious lunch at the Ringelblum cafe. Not only was the food absolutely amazing, but we got to support an amazing cause as the restaurant hires and supports unprivileged youth in the community. Our next site was Mt. Herzl which was moving and educational. We got to learn about past leaders and inspiring soldiers who all dedicated their lives to the State of Israel. We luckily had some extra time and got to make a quick stop at Machaneh Yehudah (the market) where we got to explore and buy all sorts of souvenirs and food! After a quick dinner at the hotel, we then met up with the cohort from San Francisco and heard from Ziv Shilon, a wounded IDF soldier who inspired us with his dedication and positive outlook. Overall, the day was packed, informative and inspiring!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Innovative Leadership

DAY 4: Innovative Leadership July 5, 2017

Storyteller of the day: Jaimie Levett

Today was an action-packed day filled with many ups and downs. We started off the day with a hike through the Negev and throughout the hike we stopped a few times to do some activities. One activity that stood out to me was our tour guide had us all sit and lie comfortably in a shady area of the desert in complete silence. I found this very meaningful because it allowed us to appreciate the silence and truly soak in our surroundings. Despite the fact that this hike was very difficult and tiring, it was worth it in the end because it led to David Ben-Gurion's tomb over-looking a beautiful view of the Negev. We learned that Ben-Gurion lived the end of his life in a simple house on Kibbutz Sde-Boker and asked to be burried in the same area. Next we went to the Culinary Queens of Yerucham. There we ate delicious food and learned about the cultures and histories of the people that live in Yerucham. It was so cool to experience the diversity of Israel first hand. After that we went to the Desert Shanti House which is a therapeutic village for youths at risk. The village was incredible and we got the chance to hear someone's story and experience in the Desert Shanti House. He grew up there and now works there as a dance instructor. Something I took away from this experience was that every Friday night the youths in the village stand up and say the best part of their week. This inspired me to ask all the fellows what the best part of the past few weeks has been during our Ma'agal Lailah. We ended off the night with Neil Lazarus coming to speak to us. He is an expert on Middle Eastern politics. He was very smart, funny, and knowledgeable. He answered any question we had and we truly learned a lot. Overall, it was an amazing day and a great way to end off our time on the kibbutz.

Desert Dreams

DAY 3: Desert Dreams July 4, 2017

Storyteller of the day: Aaron Hirshberg

Today was great! We started off with our drive to Mitzpe Ramon. From there we set out for the Machtesh, the crater. We all participated in an outstanding repelling activity. From there we ventured to another breathe taking view spot where we had a meaningful and deep program. Following this we headed to camel mountain to really take in the beauty of the crater and the city itself. Our journey took an interesting turn as our cohort participated in a camel ride through the desert, led by the Bedouin. From there we entered the Bedouin tents and learned about the history and the traditions of the Bedouin tribes. We then dove into the culture itself by enjoying an amazing Bedouin meal. After that we enjoyed an unbelievable magal and headed to bed.