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27 Apr

“The Nightly Blob” 4/27/17

Today we woke up at 6:10 and got ready for the day. This was the first time we entered the old city of Jerusalem, through the Zion Gate. We got on the bus to go to Robinson’s Arch for teffila. What happened next was interesting. As we prayed, we were watched by a group of young Hasidic boys who disapproved of the girls’ participation and attire. Not only were we being watched, but we also received several crude gestures and yells in attempt to interrupt our teffilah. Our Torah service went along smoothly until we reached the fourth aliya, when something surprising occurred. When Gavi, a girl from Kellman Brown, got up to read from the Torah, a pair of the young Hasidic boys that had been watching us ran down from their overlook. After a couple of attempts to take our Torah and shut down our service, they resulted in pushing and aggressive movement against our madrich, Tani. They told us that the Torah was theirs and that we were disrespecting it. Even after what they did, it is important to understand that they are humans just like us. They are Jews just like us. They simply didn’t know any better. Everyone learned an important lesson about what it means to be human beings and Jews. After the tension died down and teffila ended, we made our way to Ir David to experience the water tunnels. The tunnels used to be routes that King Hezekiah used to bring water to the city. The water was freezing, but everyone seemed to enjoy it.


We then walked up a steep hill to a shopping area and were given money to spend for lunch. The lines were very long, and some of us had to wait for 40 minutes just for schnitzel. Next, we made our way to the Kotel and split into two groups. One group got to experience a virtual reality video on the history of the Temple, and the other group went to the Kotel (Don’t worry all you parents. All of your children, including us, went to the wall.) Everyone stood at the wall and placed notes in between the stones. Several people were overcome with emotion, though it was meaningful for everyone. Afterwards we got on the bus and went back to the hotel for dinner. We then went to the mall for free time and visitations from friends and family members.


Speaking from Jerusalem at 22:08,


Jamie, Jaden, and Aaron


P.S. (We won’t be blogging until Saturday night because of Shabbat.)


  • Jackie Bogdanoff May 1, 2017 at 1:25 am

    Hi all. I am reading this blog about your unfortunate experience at Robinson’s Arch only just now, Sunday evening, the 30th. I have such a lump in my throat and a pain in my stomach. It saddens me so much, but I am so proud of all of you. Amazing pictures and blog. Hugs and kisses.

  • Laurayne Ratner April 29, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Dimitri it looks like you’re having an absolutely amazing experience with your classmates Glad that you had the opportunity to see how important it is for us to support the women of the wall and The importance of the egalitarian Approach your family and school teach In living Judaism
    Continue to enjoy every moment love softa

  • Leslie Hadam April 29, 2017 at 2:05 am

    I have always thought that this group would do great things…I am just amazed at how soon! My best to you all…

  • Fran Fine April 28, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Not the kind of teaching moment I would wish for – for all of you but it’s better that it happened in a loving group environment where you could discuss it and process it. I’m so glad you are seeing more good things than bad things!
    Noah, I love seeing you !
    Granny Franny

  • Rabbi Komisar April 28, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    I’m so sorry that you all had to have first hand experience of some of the worst that our family can do to each other. But I’m so proud of how you handled it, how you’ve processed it, and how you’ve framed it.

    The Jewish world will be shaped by folks like you.

    Have an amazing shabbos!

  • Rabbi Amanda April 28, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Well, that blog post made me cry. When we had that conversation in class, I didn’t expect such an extreme happening. Now you know why we support Women of the Wall. They have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Kotel is for all Jews; we all suffered the same history and we have all survived. We all have the right to read Torah and daven without interference. I am so glad that you are ok if not a little shaken by your experience. The fact that you wrote with such compassion about K’lal Yisrael makes me very confident in the future; you will show everyone that respect for all should be a given. You will lead by example. I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of you. A few questions that I am curious about:-
    1) That Sephardi Torah looks extremely heavy. Isn’t reading Torah vertically harder?
    2) Was the schnitzel you waited for at least good?
    3) How did you get Morah Amalya to pose for a photo??

    Shabbat shalom and much admiration,

    Rabbi Amanda

  • Ali Cranshaw April 28, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Wow. What an amazing blog post today. You guys continue to make me speechless! You will never forget these life experiences. We miss you guys so very much! It’s Friday and the hallways are not as exuberant as usual! Wishing you all a happy Shabbat!!

  • םורה גקי April 28, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    I have loved reading the blog and it looks like you are all having an amazing time!! I am so sorry you encountered this at the Kotel! I am also so proud of how open-minded and excepting you all are and how you know the Torah IS for all of us. I look forward to reading about your adventure each day! We miss you, the school is VERY quiet without you!! תעשו חיים!!

  • Beth Messina April 28, 2017 at 11:35 am

    You are what we strive for Ezra to be. A group of tolerant young men and women who are setting an example for all of us to live by. I can not tell you how proud I am of you for the way you handled yourself as well as expressed your experience. When was your age and went to Israel, I sadly had an experience, and only wish I had the strength to handle it as you did. I am proud, your Ezra community is proud, your families are proud! Keep doing what you are doing and don’t let anyone alter the experience you are having!

    Much Love,

    Morah Beth

  • Doris and Hans Grunwald April 28, 2017 at 4:25 am

    What a terrific trip! You must be experiencing so many different emotions. The pictures are wonderful, and we feel like we’re with you. We love all the smiles, even the camels are smiling. Keep enjoying. Love, Oma and Opa

  • Gilda & Johny Vaserstein April 28, 2017 at 2:43 am

    we are really sad the girls in your group encountered such an awful experience; hopefully this kind of behavior and disrespect to women wont happen in the future.
    Love to see your handsome face in so many pictures.
    Continue enjoying Israel.
    All our love,
    Baba & Babo

  • Eli Ratner April 28, 2017 at 2:31 am

    Hi Dimitri,
    We miss you here! We got totally demolished at tennis today by some big bullies from Madison.

    Hope you are having a good time. Keep protecting the girls and the Torah from those Hasidic bullies.

    I’m loving sleeping in your bed and won’t be giving it back when you return. Oh, and the turtles say hi.


  • Sara Labowe April 28, 2017 at 2:24 am

    Dear Jaden,
    I am touched by how well you all handled your experience at Robinson’s Arch. As Michelle Obama said, ” When they go low, we go high.”

    All is well at home. Though the fog rolled in for a bit and the weather is somewhat cooler, Spring is indeed here. The poppies and peonies are coming up to join the daffodils and hyacinth in our yard. I plan to get some more planting done tomorrow before day’s end.

    Wishing you a beautiful and restful Shabbat.
    Missing you very much and, as always, sending all my love to you, Mom xoxoxo

  • Steven and Elizabeth Rosenberg April 28, 2017 at 1:48 am

    Alexa and the 8th Grade Class of Ezra – We are so proud of all the positive feedback and how you handled yourselves against those of opposing views – we are comforted in seeing the pictures and knowing that you all care for each other and support each other. This is impressive! You are forming bonds that will last a lifetime. Alexa we love and miss you and while you are having a great time we can’t wait to have you back with us again. We are so looking forward to a phone call tomorrow. Love you always Mom and Dad. Ps…..Alliyah goes to your door every night and since it is getting warmer we don’t need anymore “Three Dog Nights” Just saying……XXX000 pss….Does anyone else in the class know what a “Three Dog Night” is?

  • Harriet R Friedman April 28, 2017 at 12:23 am

    What an aerobic achievement, Aaron, to be reading Torah while in a squat. I guess a dais is an American invention? Or, better to have the Torah vertical so as not to collect dust? Certainly, it did not serve to avoid attracting malevolence. That you-all had this black encounter with Ultra Orthodox youth makes me sad; but the way you-all handled it and talked about it – with compassion and intelligence – is inspiring.
    Otherwise, the pictures look great and we here in the Haven are jealous of your travels. To keep you up to date on the great happenings over here: it sort of stopped raining. Rest up on Shabbat, have more fun, stay well and keep your eyes and ears open so that you can share more of everything with us later. Dear Ben, hope those picnics are terrific and huge (my new favorite word).
    Much love,

  • Gabe Levy April 28, 2017 at 12:21 am

    Sheeba wants to be with you at the wall.

    I love you mom and Jacob.

  • Eli Levy April 28, 2017 at 12:18 am

    What an amazing experience!

    I am really proud of how all of you handled that bigoted situation. Even more proud that you did not stoop down to that level of extremism.

    Jacob and Nurse Carolyn, Gabe and I miss you.

    Have a great Shabbat!

  • The Bruder Family April 28, 2017 at 12:02 am

    The photo of Libby and Samantha embracing at the Kotel is very moving, and inspirational. What incredible experiences…and Shabbat is yet to come! We love you and miss you.

  • Miriam Benson April 27, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Well, it sure looks like it was a heavy Torah, good you didn’t drop it Nomechk…really. good. Otherwise, we’d all be fasting for 40 days…whew.

    And by the way, how the heck do you read a Torah while it’s standing up?!?!? That looks hard…but nothing’s too hard for you guys, right? right.

    And, speaking of guys…you are being extremely benevolent about those Haredi dudes. Good for you.

    With that, of course do not forget: the Kotel belongs to the entire Jewish people, not them. They do not get to set the rules and use thuggery to enforce them. Based on your eyewitness accounts and reports, they should have been arrested, prosecuted and convicted of harassment and assault…IMHO. Glad nobody was seriously hurt…

    All that being said: have a great Shabbat!!

    News flash: the 7th graders stepped up to the plate and did a better than average job leading at Whole School Tefillah!

    We introduced yet another new tune…Billy Jonas and Praise/Halleluya…a truly great one. Lots of robusto clapping and stomping.

    We still miss you tons…

    Hodesh Tov, Shabbat Shalom, love and peace and tranquility, Yevarechecha adonai veyishmerecha, etc. etc. XOXO Mom

    PS: reminder: must see the Simpsons video on Trump’s first 100 days

    PPS: Trump is still President

  • Dr Melanie Waynik April 27, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    Wow, what a day and what incredible, life altering experiences you have had. I am so proud of all of you. You are facing all events, both difficult and inspirational, with maturity, compassion and thoughtfullness. What amazing examples you are for our community, your families and the Jewish People. Kol Ha Kavod, my amazing 8th graders!

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