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29 Apr


Hey guys!!

Shabbat was a blast in Jerusalem! Yesterday morning we woke up at 6:15 and headed to the Holocaust museum Yad Vashem. To most of us who had never been there, it was an extremely powerful experience. To see pictures of the Holocaust was more powerful than any of us had imagined. When we walked through the children’s memorial, we were asked to memorize the name of one of the children who had perished there were a lot of tears. After that we went to the Garden of the Righteous Gentiles and each of us spoke about the amazing people who had risked their lives to save the Jews.

Afterwards, we hiked up Mount Herzl and stopped at each notable grave in the Israeli National Cemetery. We began with Golda Meir, the first woman prime minister, learned about Yonatan Netanyahu.  We then heard an empowering story about Michael Levine, a lone soldier from Philadelphia who volunteered for a specialty unit in the IDF and lost his life.

Then we had a very exciting experience at Shuk Machaneh Yehuda. We breathed in the yummy scent of fresh baked good, shawarma, fresh fruit and vegetables. We tried on countless pairs of elephant pants and made many purchases.  When we had finished walking around, we hopped on the bus and went to the hotel to change into our Shabbat attire. We walked to the Kotel, lit candles in King David’s Tomb and had a quick and festive Kabbalat Shabbat service on a roof over looking Jerusalem. After the service, we went to the Western Wall for Maariv. The women in our group prayed and then danced in a circle. The men stood by the wall and prayed to themselves. We headed back to hotel, ate dinner, and then sang fun songs. After a long, tiring and meaningful day we went to sleep.

And that was just Friday.

This morning we were excited to sleep until 8:30, and went to the synagogue of our choice for services. Some of us went to an Orthodox synagogue named The Great Synagogue, and others went to the Conservative Synagogue.  On the walk back we shared our differing experiences.  Praying in Jerusalem moved some of us to tears. We went back to the hotel, ate lunch, rested, and then went to the park. While some of us sat in the shade enjoying the weather, others participated in a heated game against the Panamanians. We won! Then we went back to the hotel, ate dinner followed by a ruach filled song session organized by Noam, Aaron and Eviatar and Havdalah.  After Shabbat we walked to Ben Yehuda Street! We bought gifts for family members, tried new foods (Israeli Kosher McDonalds), and saw countless Judaic stores. We walked back and are now going to sleep. Laila tov.

End of week one!!!


Sam, Aaron, Morah Amalya, Nurse Carolyn and the rest of the OBM (One Big Mishpuchah)



  • Alexandra Dawes May 4, 2017 at 12:45 am

    Jacob the score was 11-4

  • Stephen Dawes April 30, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Jacob it was nice to talk to you on the phone and sorry you didn’t get to say hi to your mom. We are glad you are having a wonderful time. Went 0-2 this weekend lost to North Branford and Westport. We should have won both but we were flat and no effort = loss. Alexandra won her game against Fairfield 8-3 so she was happy.

    Hakuna Matatta

  • Michelle Dawes April 30, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Jacob are you there? Two days of pictures and you’re nowhere to be seen — I feel like this is camp all over again! Well, we will just assume whatever you and Eviatar are doing can’t be photographed 😉 Sounds like you’ve had some amazing, special days. Thank you for the post + pics. xoxo

  • joshua sapire April 30, 2017 at 7:49 pm


    love reading the wonderful blog – really lets us get a taste of what you are doing – sounds like you are getting a true experience in every sense of the word. great picture of you at the grave of raol wallenberg – hopefully makes even more an impact when you read about what he did. strength of character is something you cant teach and it’s nice to know there are people in this world who do the RIGHT thing no matter what. otherwise, can’t believe your headphones fit under your hat! keep learning, keep growing and keep having fun. we’ll hear all about it when you return.

    all our love,

    dad, mom and ethan

  • Ashkenazi April 30, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Get ready for Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haazmaut. They are special days and I am happy that you will get to experience them with Israrlis in Israel. Stories are not like the real thing and you, with your classmates, will get to witness the real thing. It has already been an emotional trip from what we read, and now it will be even more.
    This is Israel and Israeli life, with the high and the low, roller coaster of emotions.
    It will end on a happy note. Yom Haazmaut picnick/ al haesh/barbecue is a yummi tradition.
    Breath it all in, love, mom
    Thanks to all the bloggers and the photographer, keep your great work coming.

  • Eli Levy April 30, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Jacob, its so awesome to hear about your experiences. Your pictures look great! It looks like your having a blast with all of your friends.

    P.S. Next time you call me from Israel, please call my phone number not your mothers phone 😉

  • Harriet R Friedman April 30, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    We are glad to hear of your adventures in the shook. Elephant pants???? Ptolemy used elephants while ruling Egypt so maybe they came over during the Exodus too? Your phone calls were great, giving us a nice reminder of the other occupants of this quiet house. Like the writings of Miriam and Monica before me, I assert that your absence was notable at BEKI and add that it was especially so because there was birthday cake left at Kiddush. Take it all in, dear Aaron and Ben…keep strong and wear clean socks (and sunscreen). Much love

  • Gabe Levy April 30, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Sheeba is hiding in the trees and watching you, wherever you are.

  • Monica April 30, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    We are missing our shamashim at BEKI! Quiet Shabbat without the Westville-BEKI boys at shul. Glad you are having a great time. Love you!

  • The Ashkenazi's April 30, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Eviatar, for more than 30 years the stretch of days between Yom Hashoah and Memorial day/Yom Ha’atzmaut were probably what defined Israel the most for me and I am glad you had the opportunity to be there during those days. I am sure you will cherish this experience for life.

    Love, Dad.

    P.S. on a serious note, I am happy to see that, just like your brother and sister before you, you manage to hide from the camera very efficiently. True, someone was able to get your picture here and there but in general, your ability to avoid being photographed is very impressive. :-/

  • Sara Sapire April 30, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Sounds like another wonderful day! Glad to see you all appreciating the experience. We miss you, Noah! Say hello to Ruthy, Ron’s mom, for us!

  • Steven and Elizabeth Rosenberg April 30, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Alexa – we so look forward to the daily blogs and getting to hear about the amazing experiences. We love to see pictures of you. We miss you so much and I guess the daily blogs will have to do for now. Take every moment to enjoy your last week in Israel and we can’t wait to see you upon your return…ps…..we will be tracking the flight in great anticipation of seeing you. pss….I hope your feet hurt less than they did in Cooperstown lol. Love Mom & Dad

  • Judy and Steve Kleinstein April 30, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Thanks so much for calling to wish Zach a happy birthday. We all loved hearing from you. Glad to hear you were (sort of..) able to sleep in for Shabbat. Things here are very quiet without you. We love you. Mom and Dad

  • Miriam Benson April 30, 2017 at 1:37 am

    Shavua Tov! So happy to see that our Pink and Purple Mascot, schlepped all the way in the Tommy Hilfiger luggage from 281 West Elm St., is having such a good time (and everyone else too…). We managed to survive Shabbat without our boychik/s around, the shul is still (barely) standing, and tomorrow is another bris (Libby and Mark Abraham’s baby boy, Mazel Tov!). That’s about it from here — gobble up everything and pursue every trail with vim and vigor! I hope you all (including PInk and Purple Mascot) will fully embrace the upcoming sadness of Yom Hazikaron followed by the wild jubilation of Yom Haatzmaut…XOXO

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