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22 Apr




Yom HaZikaron started with a siren that sounded at 8pm all through Israel. We were privileged to join the people who live on Kibbutz Urim, the place that we stayed. A tekes (ceremony) followed the siren. We remembered the fallen soldiers from their kibbutz who were killed during the Israeli Independence War until today. During the ceremony, they lit the word yizkor , meaning remembrance, in respect, and they recited poems and sang songs. At the end of the ceremony, we sang Hatikvah in unity.


In the morning, we arose early to make sure we could get to Jerusalem on time. We were on the bus, just minding our own business, trying to catch up on sleep, when all of the sudden Yonit, our tour guide, told us all to close the blinds on the bus. As we arrived in Jerusalem, the chaperones handed out blindfolds and told us to put them on. We were a little hesitant because we weren’t sure of what was to come. We then were told to get into the aisle of the bus and hold on to the people in front of us while Maya and Alana, who weren’t wearing blindfolds because they had previously been to Jerusalem, lead us off the bus. When we took off our blindfolds we were standing on a promenade over-looking the whole city of Jerusalem. The view was mind-blowing (boom). After we took in the stunning site and did a few activities, we headed back to the bus.

Today’s tefillah leaders were Sophia, Skylar and Elijah F. They had an extra job because of Yom Hazikaron. They each chose a reading from the siddur that in some way related to today or to our arrival in Jerusalem. One chose a reading from the festival musaf, another chose from ma’ariv and the last reading was from an alternative English reading for the Amidah. They were great.

After tefillah, we walked down the street to Yad Lakashish. Yad Lakashish is a place where older people can go and work, get paid, have a free bus pass, and have a hot meal. Perhaps more importantly, these people become an integral part of a community. In return for those things, the elders work a few hours a day and create jewelry, art, mezuzot, tzedakah boxes, and much more. In the gift shop we were able to support this incredible organization by buying things for our wonderful family and friends.

Later, we went up to Har Herzl, the national cemetery, for the fallen soldiers and heroes. We had the opportunity to visit a few of the deceased soldiers; Yoni Netanyahu was first; then two men who died in 2006 and a man who passed 6 months ago while serving in the army. We then had time to pay our respects to each of the people’s graves we visited. This was very powerful and sorrowful. At the end of our visit, we sang Hatikvah in respect.

We are getting ready to switch to a happy mood and the Yom Haatzmaut celebration on Ben Yehuda street.

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  • Tedd Bear June 1, 2015 at 12:08 am

    Hi, All Just Wishing That OUR Eighth Graders Had A Great Time On Their Amazing Once In A Lifetime Opportunity

    Tedd Bear

  • The Aweau family April 24, 2015 at 9:44 am


    So glad to see you having a great time. Enjoy it all. Wish we could share it with you. Missing you!

    Deb, Kawika & Ali’i

  • ILA ( for Alana ) April 23, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Alana,
    Papa Marty and I are enjoying all the photos and reading about all the amazing things you are doing and the sights you are seeing. What a wonderful experience to share with your friends.
    We are certain none of you will ever forget this trip. We wish we with you- but, that probably wouldn’t be as much fun! Did the camels spit at you? I heard they like to do that. 🙂
    Ila and papa Marty

  • Harriet April 23, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Hey Soph….Bringing ALL TIme Low to Jerusalem! I see the sun glasses. You and classmates look terrific. We are vicariously enjoying falafel with you. Especially today….Happy Birthday Israel. So much love,

  • Jenna's ima April 23, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Jennahennahead, et al.

    There are pictures of you all hanging on my office door and on amalya’s door. Heck, everyone who asks, gets a tour of israel through my iphone….

    i know you’re all going to see special people tonight and i hope you enjoy, JENNA you need to give Saski a special hug from me and remind her there is room in your suitcase to come back to the states.

    Happy Thursday. Can’t wait to talk to you tomorrow. I miss your voice. Even the sassy one.


  • Jenna's ima April 23, 2015 at 1:03 pm


  • Marty feldman April 23, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Hi Hana! I see you are having a wonderful time. Riding camels, climbing, digging , and enjoying a wonderful experience. I hope this posts because I’ve sent 3 different messages over the past 2 days and maybe they are not going through. I’ll keep trying!
    Love you!

  • Carmi Kostolitz April 23, 2015 at 4:56 am

    it was wonderful to read today’s blog about Yom hazikaron in Jerusalem. Visiting Har Herzl must have been a very powerful experience! what a bonding experience it must have been! Thank you Morah Amalya & Marcy for planning such an action packed & amazing trip for the class!
    We miss you very much, Maya. Zippy, Kerrie & Jaspurr (aka crazy cat) miss you too. Jaspurr goes into your room looking for you!
    Enjoy the festivities for Yom Haazmaut! Can’t wait to hear all about it. Maya, please give Geri, Gilly and the rest of the family a big hug from us!! And take lots of pictures!!!!!
    Love always,

  • Rabbi Amanda April 23, 2015 at 3:02 am

    It sounds like you had an emotional day, with highs and lows. Elijah, I think you make a very good Israel! The 7th graders are doing a great job-don’t worry, not as good as you yet. Raz and Ofir made a beautiful ceremony today. Tomorrow we are also going to be celebrating. In honor of Ilan Ramon, Dr. Berke and I are making small rockets with all of the students. We had to try them out (of course), and it was so much fun. I can’t wait. We miss you. Enjoy the craziness of Yom Ha-atzmaut on Ben Yehuda.

  • Scott Grubman April 23, 2015 at 2:31 am

    Hey Ally! Make sure to enjoy every second of your trip. Can’t to see you when you come up so you can tell me all about it! Not sure if i can top Dan’s comment, but hey, you can’t win them all 🙂

    Have a great time!

  • Eric Grubman April 23, 2015 at 2:25 am


    It all looks amazing. Sheva seems sorry about messing up your room. Keep having a great time


  • The Schulmans April 23, 2015 at 1:53 am

    We would love to be there with you. What a wonderful opportunity .The guides seem very special. Your activities are spectacular. Get ready to share when you return.
    Ila & Marty
    Ps : I want a camel for Block Island

  • ILA ( for Alana ) April 23, 2015 at 1:49 am

    Hi Alana,
    Your trip looks fabulous ! It looks like you are all doing so many great things. I am looking forward to hearing all about the adventures you are having. The dig you participated in was very interesting to me and something I would love to do. Did you find any shards? Were you allowed to keep what you found? I will make you something out of it if so. We miss you, and is great to see all these photos of everyone having such a great time. “Hi” to Skylar! Love, Ila

  • David & Heather Korman April 23, 2015 at 1:14 am

    Hey Class of 2015

    Sounds like today was a roller coaster of emotions. I can’t wait to hear about it first hand. I wonder what were your thoughts when you took off your blindfold and had your first look at that ancient, beautiful city.

    Sky, I added some snails, crabs and a shrimp to the tank.
    Have another great day.


    Mom & Dad
    David & Heather

  • Karen Bogdanoff April 23, 2015 at 1:12 am

    Chag Samaech 8th grade!! We are so enjoying the blog and pics. Elana, can’t wait to talk on Friday and hear how amazing this trip is! Love to all, especially ELANA

  • Ethan Bershtein aka lebron April 23, 2015 at 1:04 am

    Looks fun Elana. Jerusalem was a very special moment in my trip too. I hope you’ve tried schwarma as it is a truly amazing food. Keep having fun and keep applying sunscreen at least twice a day.

  • Eileen Glickman April 23, 2015 at 12:42 am

    How wonderful to be in Israel for Yom HaZikaron and Yom Haatzmaut! The pictures are so great! Ben, you look so good. Please continue to enjoy this fabulous trip. We send all of our Love, Nanny and Poppy

  • Gail Korman April 23, 2015 at 12:26 am

    the pics are great. You all look so happy. Hope you all are writing in Journals. Keep adding to your memories and enjoying being together on this journey. It’s cool and rainy here. Sky you look great. Want to see you in more pictures. Love to all of you.

  • Dan Grubman April 23, 2015 at 12:20 am

    Hi Ally!
    Hope you’re having lots of fun in Israel. Yom Ha’atzmaut looks like so much fun. I miss and love you! You’re my snugglepugglepuffs.


  • Staci (A.K.A. JZ'S crazy Mom) April 22, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    LOVE IT SUZ… A.K.A. My traveling buddy B.K.A. Benji, A.K.A My Co-Pilot’s Mama Bear!!! See ya tomorrow night!!!

  • Mom April 22, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    What a powerful and unique experience to be in Israel for those holidays! And to see Jerusalem for the first time after being led blindfolded to the lookout. How special is that! I can’t wait to hear about your visit to Yad Lakashish. I am so excited to see all of your pictures and your beautiful smiles!! Continue to enjoy every moment and treasure your experience with all of your friends. Love you!

  • susan schiff April 22, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    I miss you Ben. You guys look like you’re having the best trip and are happy and tired! Went to Rita’s today with Grace and thought May 1st we’ll go together. Of course Rita’s must sound pretty lame, considering…. Big hugs to all of you and love and kisses to BenjiBean! Love, Mamma Bear
    AKA Staci’s traveling buddy…

  • Cheryl (Zach's mom) April 22, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Everyone! You make us all so proud. Jerusalem sounds amazing. Can’t wait to hear more about it. Hope you have a wonderful celebration tomorrow. We are watching a Yankees game in the snow tonight! (it’s in Detroit). Crazy weather; but the weather looks great where you are.
    Zach–remember to take lots of pictures and we can’t wait to hear more about your experiences! Love ya, and miss you lots. Mom, dad, Jake & Hanna

  • Jackie B. aka Aunt Jackie April 22, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Jerusalem is so special. I cried my way off the bus as Morah Amalya (XXOO) led me to the edge of the lookout.with my eyes closed.(we did not get special blindfolds). When I opened my eyes I couldn’t see because of the tears! I will never forget that moment. I am sure this was a very special moment for all of you too. Hag Sameach.

  • Mimi April 22, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    I can’t help but admit, I became a little concerned when they said that everyone had to put the blinds down, stand in the middle of the bus and of course the worse was the statement, “everyone needs to be blindfolded and hold onto each other while getting off the bus”! Thank Goodness, as I finished reading, was only because they wanted you to take in the wonderful site of “Jerusalem”. Wish I was with you, no matter what your beliefs are that had to be a special moment in the trip, and one you will not forget for a very long time.
    Skylar, tell everyone responsible for this wonderful blog page, it is really enjoyable to read and gives me a feeling of knowing your in good hands.. You know I was worried about you going so far away, but I am glad that your all having a great time.
    Continue to keep in touch and I can’t wait to see the pictures of the “Dead Sea”.

    Love you whole bunches Mimi

  • The Safians April 22, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Was surprised to see Alana without the blindfold until I read why. Great experience to see Jerusalem for the first time in that way.

    Sadness mixed with fun and excitement, what a roller coaster day.

    Enjoy it all, enjoy it all together.

    Michael & Lisa

    Ps – Oreo misses his Alana

  • Sara Labowe April 22, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Dear Elijah,
    How good it is that you are able to experience Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut in one the most beautiful cities in the world. What was it like to open your eyes and see Jerusalem for the first time? Keep enjoying the moments and creating happy memories. Have fun celebrating the holiday with your friends and teachers tomorrow!!

    I would love to see more pictures of you, honey! Please don’t be shy. 🙂

    I love you and miss you very much.
    Gd bless you and keep you safe,

  • Evan Wyner April 22, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    What a beautiful way to celebrate Yom HaZikaron…I hope Yom Ha’azmaut is as fun as today was meaningful!

  • Staci (A.K.A. JZ'S crazy Mom) April 22, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    We should be there with them! Or at least be there too 😉

  • Betty Norman April 22, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    I am so happy that you are in Jerusalem now. My favorite place to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmout!
    Moran Betty

  • Dr. Waynik April 22, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    What a day! Are you exhausted yet? We had our own Yom Hazikaron Memorial today. Raz and Ofir sang beautifully and it was a very moving program.
    We hope tonight and tomorrow are filled with great joy and excitement!
    We miss you! Take good care of Morahs Amalya and Marcy!

  • Staci ( A.K.A JZ's Mom) April 22, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    WOW… What an amazing experience this must have been . My eyes are tearing up, looking at the pictures.
    What’s going on, my man? Are you playing camera shy again??? LOVE the group pic with you looking off into the distance… I can only imagine what you were thinking?!?!
    Looking forward to seeing you party in the streets for Yom Ha’atzmaut!!! Wish I was there celebrating with you!!!
    Jakey & I miss you!!!
    Have fun Homs!!!
    Love you

  • Jenna's ima April 22, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    What a great way to see Jerusalem for the first time!! I never would have thought of that!! Jenna you look beautiful and happy – and I’m glad you and Ben and Hana are all taking care of each other.

    A little note for my Hana-Banana…. i hope you and your bestie are having way too much fun together and with your friends. Don’t let Jenna spend too much (unless it is on ME!)…. so proud of you. This trip is HUGE. I love you like you are mine… take care of each other chicas.

    And keep track of Freiman, we don’t want him to get lost #7!!!

    Love you all – Thank you Marcy and Amalya!!!

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