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27 Apr



We began our day with tefillah in the Sephardi Bet Knesset in the kibbutz. J.Z., Zach, and Sophia led our service. Elana, Hana, Rafi and Alana had the opportunity to read from the Sefer Torah that was “standing” on the bima. We feel lucky to have these opportunities.

As we know, it is a mitzvah to give Tzedakah, or charity. Today, we expressed that knowledge by volunteering at a place called Leket Nahalal. This is a non-profit organization that picks crops for families in need. For example, when farmers don’t want or need a crop anymore, they send workers and volunteers there to pick it and give to the hungry, instead of wasting all of it. They even have their own fields on land donated to this cause. This is where we went to help pick as many beets as possible and met up with Karen and Assaf, our former emissaries. Since everybody likes a little competition, the boys and girls decided to see who could pick more in the time we were there. It was so fun competing and knowing that this is going to people who really need it! Doing this good deed felt so amazing. We found out at the end that the girls did indeed win, but that wasn’t the most important part. The most important part, was that all of us together collected 600 kilos, which feeds 200 families! Everyone was so shocked that in such short time, we could make such a difference in people’s lives.

After picking the beets, we took a short bus ride to the supermarket to buy food for our picnic with our pen pals. Each group had a chaperone and a list of things to buy. Once we chose everything and paid, we headed over to Sachne, a beautiful lagoon. Once we got there and unloaded our groceries, we met our pen pals and Amit, our emissary from last year. At first it was awkward for some of us but eventually we got to know them and became friends. We then went swimming in the refreshing water. There were many different places to swim: a water cave, a waterfall, and a small water tunnel. While the kids were swimming, the adults were making our lunch with what we bought at the grocery store. After swimming for a while, we were kicked out for lunch and played some activities with our new friends. They then had to go back to school (haha ‘school’) and we had a little more time to swim. It was such an amazing experience to meet new people whom some of us have been “talking” with for such a long time.

After having a really fun time with new friends, we continued our theme of charity by going to the Emunah Center in Afula. The Emunah Center is a place where at-risk children from the ages of 5-18 go to have housing and food, or just afterschool care. When we arrived, we met our guide, Ellin Yassky. We went into the library and she told us that she was also an Ezra parent! Her two children were Ezra students and now serve in the Israeli army and study in University in Israel. After explaining her connection with us, she explained the mission of the center. She told us that it was a residential place and an afterschool care center. They are able to care for 200 children at each branch of the center, of which there are five. At the one in Afula, they house 110 children, and care for 90 afterschool. There, the children are fed and kept safe from their guardians who are potential threats to them. There are many kids from different countries like Russia, Ethiopia, Israel, France and more. While our class was there, we got a short tour of the facility. We saw the dorms, the art center, Bet Knesset and their basketball/soccer court. While the girls got the tour, the boys were playing soccer against some of their boys! In the end, we lost 2-4. However, the boys got the tour while the girls were playing and we won 1-0! The kids were really good! After we had our fun, it was time to bake cookies! Everyone had a child in between them around two tables, and got to put the cookie dough on the cookie sheet. We were excited that we got to talk to them in Hebrew! After that it was time to go, but we were so glad that we got to make the children happy.

Because everybody played soccer, we were all so hungry! For dinner, we went to an amazing falafel place called Falafel Golani. When we told them what we wanted, they started throwing the falafel balls in the air and caught them inside the pita! We were all so amazed how they could throw it and catch them so fast. They also put fries in the falafel and it was soooo good. Anat and Matan Weiner, former Ezra family, joined us for dinner and so did Lisa, another former emissary! After that, we got back on the bus and headed to Ashdot Ya’akov, the kibbutz. We had a tiring basketball game followed by relaxing in the hammocks… Parents beware – many of us are planning on having our own hammocks!

Laila tov!

Rafi, Ally, Skylar, Marcy, Amalya and 8th graders



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  • Rosania April 29, 2015 at 2:57 am

    Dearest Elijah,
    It’s Rosania here! I am so happy to read about your swim in the natural pool of water at Sachne. It looks beautiful. Enjoy the rest of your trip. I miss you and I look forward to seeing you on Friday. Love you, Rosania

  • Mimi April 28, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Sorry I didn’t write last night, but I had to work at Bath n Body. I’m glad all of you were able to meet your pen pals, that must of been so exciting and interesting to finally put a face with the name. Such an easy task of picking beets, but what a huge impact on 200 families. That old saying still holds true, “Many hands make light work”. Skylar, I am so proud of you and lucky you were able to make this journey with your class.

    See you Soon and have lots of fun!
    Love you lots, Mimi

  • eileen Glickmaneileen glickman April 28, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Dear Ben,
    What a fabulous experience for all of you Looks like you all had a wonderful day. The pictures are really Great!
    Be safe and Well! Can’t wait to see you!! All of our Love, Nanny and Poppy

  • Staci ( JZ'S Mom) A.K.A COACH April 28, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Beautifully said, “you know who”… and even I, “JZ’S CRAZY MOM”, is in total agreement!!! WOW, THAT’S HUGE!!!

  • Charlie Bruce April 28, 2015 at 3:17 am

    Hey Sophia, you found my Ezra cap. It’s getting frequent flyer miles without me.
    Miss you. Much Love,

  • susan schiff April 28, 2015 at 3:06 am

    Keep writing “You Know Who.”
    Harriet, I could read your contributions all day long! I think it’s time to share more writings. I will be a happy reader. Kids, be safe and have a wonderful time. I love you all. Ben I adore you!!! Mom/Susan

  • Jenna's ima April 28, 2015 at 2:51 am


    That was a beautiful sentiment. Something I’ve been thinking but couldn’t express. I miss them all, but I don’t want it to end.

    But we know they will all go back… And next time they’ll be stuck with us!

    See you Friday.

  • Ben Bruce April 28, 2015 at 2:48 am

    HI Sophia, your brother Ben here. I hope you are having a wonderful time. But I really miss you. So, next time you decide to go on a long trip to Israel, take me with you.
    Love Ben

  • Harriet April 28, 2015 at 2:46 am

    Sophia and friends,
    I feel time moving quickly for you. I am willing it to slow down…just a bit, at least. But time, like a brother hardly listens to me.. You are in a whirlwind and the winds are blowing you homeward. But, I am wishing for you some stillness…so you can breathe in the air and and allow yourself/yourselves the moment of knowing how grand is your adventure. And this moment can make time stand still.

    Really, Abba and your brothers and aunt Jackie and uncle sidney and aunt ellen and zayda have been hanging onto your every word (told via pictures). . So, fill up with experiences in the time you have.

    WIth such love,

    You know who.

  • Mom April 28, 2015 at 2:13 am

    So great! Love the beets and the purple hands! And Ally, I see the tradition of Grubman children carrying watermelons from the supermarket to the lunch area has been continued. Nicely done!! Continue to have a great time! Miss you and can’t wait to see you soon!
    Mom and Dad

  • Ms Edwards April 28, 2015 at 2:05 am

    Ally – is the watermelon part of your parabola picture?? It certainly could be!
    I’m seeing a lot of parabola pictures that I’ll bet you all don’t even realize you are taking. I am entranced by your words and love reading about your daily experiences. I can’t wait to hear about it whe you come back. Enjoy your last few days, see you Friday!

    Ms Edwards

  • Jonathan F April 28, 2015 at 1:51 am

    Your daily narratives are wonderful, making us all feel like we’re there with you: thanks so much for them! (Still, there’s much that we don’t know. For instance, did you have borscht for dinner? Did anyone, thinking of the Exodus, smear their beet-red hands on the lintels before going to bed, just in case? Did any of you catch one of the flying felafel balls? If so, did you get a free t-shirt? Were the good folks at Golani ever tempted to throw the hot sauce in the air, just to spice things up? Etc.)

  • Ms Edwards April 28, 2015 at 1:23 am

    Number of kids and time spent us irrelevant… But 600 kilos is just over 1300 pounds!! That’s a lot of beets. You guys look like you are having an amazing time, hope you are taking pictures for math class; can’t wait to hear about it firsthand. 😉 See you soon!,
    Ms. Edwards

  • Uncle Steven April 28, 2015 at 1:22 am

    Looks like you guys are having an awesome time ….We have been following the blog ……We haven’t had to talk your Mother off the ledge to much …..Cant wait to hear all about your Adventure…….Make sure you wear your sunscreen …..

    Love ,
    Uncle Ste-

  • frank himmelstein April 28, 2015 at 1:16 am

    Elijah, I am very happy to read about your wonderful experiences in Israel. Enjoy. Frank

  • Jenna's ima April 28, 2015 at 1:09 am

    Someone ask Miss Edwards: how many pounds of beets is it if x=600 and there were 15 kids working at 4 kilos/hour and no one stopped to go to the bathroom.

    I can’t answer that. Can you?

  • Karen Bogdanoff April 28, 2015 at 1:03 am

    HI Elana and the rest of the fabulous Ezra class of 2015,

    We are so enjoying your beautifully descriptive blog and pictures. You guys are doing a great job making this trip look more amazing each day! We miss you, but are so happy to see all the fantastic things you are doing!
    Love to all especially ELANA

  • Staci ( JZ'S Mom) A.K.A COACH April 28, 2015 at 12:53 am

    Thank you, Chavera Sheli!!! So proud of my boys!!!
    Much love to all

  • David & Heather Korman April 28, 2015 at 12:47 am

    600 Kilos of beets? That awesome. You did a great thing helping the family’s. It must have been exciting to meet your pen pals. I know Skylar was looking forward to it. Now you all have a reason to return to Israel.

    Have fun

    Mom & Dad
    David & Heather

  • Yaakov Gottlieb April 28, 2015 at 12:46 am

    Hi everyone!
    Hope you are all having a really good time and getting nice and sunburned. Just wanted to let Rafi know that he’d better stay safe or vovo is going to smack you and that his room is now a gym and that we sold all his stuff to buy the equipment, but look on the bright side, at least your room is finally clean!
    Shalom! (I haven’t lost all my Hebrew)
    -The better Gottlieb brother

  • Sara April 28, 2015 at 12:35 am

    Elijah, honey,

    Jaden and I can see the “happy face” in those yummy looking cookies–how did they come out? What was the name of your cooking buddy? Can’t wait to hear about your day at the Emunah Center.
    Jaden says “you look boss” standing in that market cart (be careful!)
    How was it to harvest veggies? Frank is looking for a few extra farm hands this Summer!
    Sachne is one of my favorite places in the world. So happy you were able to experience this for yourself.
    Very glad you were able to reconnect with our wonderful emissaries–and how was the b-ball game?? It was really lovely to see all you boys on the court together again!! Shout out to Staci G!!

    Yasher Koach to all who lead tefila.

    Miss you tons and love you more,

  • Ofir&raz April 28, 2015 at 12:25 am

    You guys look awesome!! We’re so glad you had a good time with your pen pals! We heard they had a great time with you guys!
    So jealousy your five minutes from our houses!!
    Keep enjoying every second!
    We can wait for you to come back!
    Love y’all
    Raz and ofir

  • Carmi Kostolitz April 27, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Hi everyone,
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful day with us. When you describe your activities, I feel as if we’re all beside you, in Israel , doing these amazing things. How was it to finally meet your pen pal Mia? Did you speak to her in Hebrew? I hope so…after 8 yrs. of an Ezra education!!
    Maya, it looks like you made a fast recovery from your cold/sore throat. I’m so glad!
    Miss you lots & can’t wait to hug you on Friday!!!
    Love you, Mom
    PS. Isn’t it strange to think that Dad is in Israel too? He arrived today & will see you on Thursday with Grandma Dusi & Teresita!!!!

  • Rachel Light April 27, 2015 at 10:00 pm


    It was nice to see you picking beets. I expect some help in the garden this summer! Remember the photos you took of the beet skins in the garbage when dad was making my birthday dinner? That was some of your earliest photo art.

    I see you are wearing an Ezra hat – I’m guessing that means you either lost yours, or decided you are now only a fan of Israeli basketball teams.

    We are having falafel for dinner tonight since you had it and it sounded so good. I’m not throwing it in the air, though. You can teach me how to do that when you get home.

    We miss you.
    Lots of love,

  • Jenna's ima April 27, 2015 at 9:15 pm


    All my favorite emissaries!!! And Anat and Matan too!?! My perfect day.

    And more swimming!!! It’s about 70 degrees in Raleigh today but not as sunny as where you are.

    I love those smiles. I can’t wait to hug you.

    More later. I have cats crawling all over me!!

    Love you more

  • Dr. Waynik April 27, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    So… the next time I need help in my garden I know who to call! I might even find a little weeding for you to do before graduation! Love thos cookies Elijah, and did you know that Sachne is one of my favorite places in Israel The water is always so warm. Can’t wait to hear all of the details and all of your stories.

  • Morah Betty April 27, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    So happy that you got to see our former emissaries, friends from Ezra and meet your pen pals. You all look great and fit in well with the Israeli life style!!!

  • Staci ( JZ'S Mom) A.K.A COACH April 27, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    AMAZING… to say the very least!!! So great to see ALL those beautiful faces!!! ( Assaf, finally)!!!!
    Our beautiful Amit & Karen… how lucky they were to see you all the same day!!! I’m so jealous!!!
    Z & J-
    Made my heart smile to see you leading Tefillah together in the Motherland!!!
    Question… How did ” MY BOYS” do on the courts?!?! Raf what do you think? Did you guys use “the Frieman”???
    Any way… you all look amazing!!! I can’t wait til Friday!!!
    Miss & love you all
    Ps. I’m with you Sus!!! Maybe we could have helped with that if we went with my plan 😉

  • Marty Feldman April 27, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    What a day! Picking beets..doing a mitzvah, getting food for those in need.
    I’m so proud of all of you! Great lessons for tzedakah and tikun olam to bring home. And in Israel no less.

    The pictures of tefillah are also very moving! And by the way…great photography!!!

    The swimming looked fun! I’d like that. And even better, I’d like those falafel.
    Yum. Now you’re talking.

    I want to hear more about your pen pal , Hana, and her life in Afula.

    I don’t need to tell you to have fun and enjoy. I can tell by the pics that you all are!

    Love !!!!! Dad

  • susan schiff April 27, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Great pictures! Poor Ben around veggies again!!!!! Someone get the boy a steak! You all look amazing and looks like you’re having a BLAST! Miss you Beanie. I can’t wait to see all of you. Keep safe and keep enjoying this awesome trip. Much love, Mom (Susan)

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