By Rabbi Danny Cohen For the many weeks, I have been…
The first four days of JLI’s Israel trip was packed with excitement and none stop enjoyment. From early Tuesday morning until the final moments before shabbos the participants had their hands full as they explored and discovered Israel on a whole new level.
The journey began Tuesday morning, after davening and breakfast, participants set of to the holy city of Safed. From the cobblestone streets of the old city to the hundred year old synagogues and study houses, the participants were thrown into the time of the kabbalists and the great authors of Jewish mysticism. As they explored the historic Jewish sites, they were privileged to hear a host of stories accompanied by authentic descriptions from instructors who made the spiritual experience enjoyable and practical.
From there the group continued on to Meron, the burial site of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai; a grand scholar to whom is attributed the authorship of the kabbalistic book of Zohar. The group continued onto the city of Tiberias where they boarded a sail boat, sailing the Sea of Galilee.
Wednesday morning began with a visit to the tomb of Maimonides; the great medieval torah sage and author. As they toured the small cemetery excited grew among the participants as the names of familiar Rabbi’s they had heard and learnt about in the various courses of JLI were inscribed on graves right front of them.
Next stop, the group visited the strategic Golan Heights, Mount Tal and Gamla as well other historical places in which the participants learned about Jewish heroism and courage during Israel’s wars.
Thursday morning after a festive breakfast with a speech from MK Yoel Hasson, a special visit to the holy city of Jerusalem was scheduled where they visited ammunition Hill, Mount Scopus, and the city of David. The Old City was next, and finally a bar mitzvah ceremony at the Western Wall Plaza. Completing the day’s visit the group visited the Western Wall tunnels.
Friday was devoted to spiritual preparation as the country got ready for shabbos. During breakfast the participants heard from former MK Tzachi Hanegbi who praised Chabad activities in Israel and around the world. Towards ten o’clock, the buses left to Rachel’s Tomb, where after davening they heard words from a member of the Jerusalem Municipality, Rabbi Halperin.
Hebron was next on the list. After a visit to the Gutnik Center, the group arrived at Beit Hadassah, where participants toured the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, and from there to the Cave of the Patriarchs, the feeling among the crowd was indescribable as they starred down more than 4000 years of Jewish History.
In Hebron the group heard words from the shliach Rabbi Levi Klein, who explained the place and its importance. They then heard from the local Hebron shliach, Rabbi Danny Cohen, who finished his words with reciting with the children the ten special verses connected with the security of Israel. They then heard from Hebron Jewish community spokesman, Mr. Noam Arnon, who told over Chabad’s History in the holy city of Hebron.
The visit to Hebron finished with a group picture and the buses make their way to Jerusalem.
As the sun was starting to set on Jerusalem the participants made preparations for the Sabbath at the David Citadel hotel. The women ushered in shabbos as they lit the candles and joined the rest of the group on their way to the Western Wall where they will all receive the Sabbath Queen.
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