Our teens in Israel are keeping us up-to-date with all their adventures. Check back each day!


Monday, Dec. 25: Update from Rose Adler-Rephan

Hi, I'm Rose. I am writing from Kfar Tavor in Northern Israel. Since we arrived in Israel, we have entered into riveting competitions of teamwork and creativity- with a company called Acharai that does a pre-army program. We are all so happy to be together. Day one has been a success i cannot wait to see what else this trip has in store.



Tuesday, Dec. 26: Update from Emi Stiefel Alperin

Hi, I'm Emi, and today is my birthday. We explored Tiberius and then went to Kibbutz Gesher next to Jordan and learned about everything that happened there. Then we went on a jeep tour in the Golan Heights. It was super cool, and it was a great thing to do on my birthday! The scenery was really pretty. I could see Israel, Jordan and Syria all at the same time! Then we had pizza which was delicious, and we spent the evening with our host families.




Wednesday, Dec. 27: Update from Gabby Tselos

Hi, I’m Gabby. Today our morning started by going to school. Pretty crazy to think about going to school during winter break. Anyway, we were in two different groups depending on where our host families went. I went to Kaduri. When we were there we gave presentations to the classes. It was cool to see the differences between American and Israeli schools. Our schools are inside. Theirs are outside and they have coach buses instead of yellow school buses. After that, we went to an Islamic village where we learned about their culture and got to try their cultural foods. Then we went to an amazing restaurant called Cafe Greg and had lunch. Tal’s mom came and met us there. We just finished our tour of the Circassian village exhibit - it's so cool! They have very different ways of raising children and getting married, so it was very interesting to learn about. Now we are on our way to see Nadav’s parents. Nadav was a friend of Tal’s who was killed as a soldier. His family is going to tell us their story. 



Thursday, Dec. 28: Update from Dani Orloff

Hi, my name is Dani Orloff, and I will be blogging about our day today on December 28th! This morning we went to Kibbutz Deganya Bet, where we learned about life on a communal kibbutz. Deganya Bet is one of two communal kibbutzim left in the Gallillee region. Essentially, in communal kibbutzim, all of the members work, and the money goes toward the kibbutz. Each member or family gets an allowance, creating an atmosphere of equality and trust. We got a tour of the crop fields and the dairy farm, where we witnessed the live birth of a baby calf. It was for sure a once in a lifetime experience! Next, we went to Galita, a chocolate factory on the kibbutz. We did a workshop and were able to make our own chocolate bars!! The photo is of me making my chocolate bar. We were first given white chocolate to create a design, covered the design with milk chocolate, and then added sprinkles and other toppings. The bars turned out amazing, and the chocolate was so good! Next, we ate lunch in the kibbutz’s dining hall, which was surprisingly good! I had schnitzel, rice, and some israeli salad with tahini. After that, we went on the bus to Jerusalem! Everyone was super tired, so we all fell asleep. We also took a stop in the middle of the trip at a gas station, and Gabby finally tried “shoko basakeet” (chocolate milk in a bag)!!! After the break ended Tal brought us “Krembo” which is a waffle on the bottom filled with toasted marshmallow creme covered by milk chocolate!


Friday, Dec. 29: Max Gantman

Hi, I’m Max Gantman. We've had an amazing trip so far, and today has been no exception. It is only noon but we have already done so much. We woke up and had an American breakfast at the hotel. It was very nice eating as one big family- American and Israeli delegations together. We then went to the Old City and went on a scavenger hunt to see and learn about all of the sights. This was very interesting as we got to read about all of the history of Jerusalem and explore the city on our own. Now we are on our way to the Shuk (I am writing early because of Shabbat). The Shuk is the big open market and I am super excited to try the legendary Israeli shawarma for the first time! After the Shuk we will get ready for Shabbos and have Kabbalat Shabbat at the Kotel! Then we will walk back to the hotel and have Shabbos dinner all together. So far Jerusalem has exceeded my expectations and I’m sure the rest of the day will be just as amazing!


Saturday, Dec. 30: Zipporah Cohen

Hi! I’m Zipporah Cohen :). Israel has been an incredible experience and I was most looking forward to Jerusalem. Imagine my excitement when I got to spend my birthday in the beautiful city! Last night, where Max left off, we were on our way to the Kotel and when we arrived, we started Shabbat. Many of us decided to join those who keep Shabbat on a weekly basis. Almost all of us abstained from using phones and some even used metal keys for the hotel rooms, a shabbat elevator that doesn’t require pushing buttons, and turning on or off the lights. I was one of them. I personally do not keep Shabbat while I’m at home and I’m so glad I decided to. It really made me interact with the others and connect with them while still being mindful that it was a special day that was separate from the rest. Today, after sleeping in and time to ourselves, we all walked to the Israel Museum where we were able to learn about the history of the Jewish people around the world and see artifacts from centuries ago. My personal favorite was a replica of a synagogue in Suriname that was built with sand as the floor. Then, we walked back to the hotel to pack up our things and do Havdalah. Now, we are on our way to Tel Aviv and I can’t wait! Everyone made my birthday a great one and I’m so grateful I was able to spend it in Jerusalem!


Sunday, Dec. 31: Zach Glaser

Hi, my name is Zach. Today has been extremely surreal. At this moment I am sitting in the lobby of the Blackout Cafe calmly watching a storm roll in. I am excited to eat here, a place that tries to emulate the feelings of people with disabilities through a meal. We opened the morning at Independence Hall. That location is steeped in history, and we watched presentations on how it was one of the first few buildings in Tel Aviv, the earliest modern Jewish city. Perhaps more important though, this is the site where David Ben Gurion gathered his proto-parliament to debate, and ultimately decide to found the state of Israel. The room itself was interesting. We were asked to look around and realized that it was concrete, and the windows were high up. They still managed to make it pretty with art from the museum and wonderful flags. It was news to a lot of us (okay, maybe just me) that the war of independence started right after the passing of the partition plan, a full harvest cycle before the British left. Then we had a nice lunch at an open air street mall. Despite getting fleeced out of 5 shekels and a receipt, it was a good time. We had tasty shawarma, and by all accounts I had the best gosh-darned pomegranate seeds there ever were. Our final main activity besides dinner for today was a beach cleanup at Palmahim. It was beautifully windy and warm (again, for some of the more northern of us). There was so much trash on that beach, yet apparently it was very clean in contrast to the usual amount. It was a nice time to chat with friends while doing... wait for it... Tikkun Olam! Zach Glaser, signing off from Tel Aviv.


Monday, Jan. 1: Marisa Goffman

Heyo!  My name is Marisa Goffman. Happy New Year from Israel!  Yesterday after eating dinner at Blackout Cafe, we had to say goodbye to the Israeli teens. It was so sad; over the time of this trip we have all become so close, that saying goodby was really hard. We had one last dance party on the bus, and then stayed at another hostel for the night. We celebrated the incoming year all together in Tal’s room with a ton of snacks. Even with all the snacks, we ended up ordering a pizza at 11:30 anyway to celebrate the new year. Watching the Israeli Great Race, we all stared at our cell phones watching the clock turn. Then we yelled Happy New Year! Gabby did the first whip and dab for 2018, and we moved on with our lives. Today, first of all, during breakfast I met my brother who’s doing Birthright so it was fun to open my morning like that. After breakfast we went to the Museum of the Jewish People and it was really cool.  There were mini replicas of synagogues from around the world and we talked about what different parts of the shul meant - like why there was sand on the floor and how Jews tend to assimilate to their surroundings. We are like chameleons. Then we talked about Ethiopian Jews and their struggles of being in Israel and identifying their ethnicity. It was super interesting. After that, we went to the gallery of heroes which was an interactive place that had a bunch of different leaders and people who were Jewish and successful.  My favorite one was the guy who swam because in order to do the activity we all looked insane. We finished up with a video and discussion on how we can continue the Jewish story.  We watched the video #Imthatjew and talked about what kind of Jews we are and how we have our own personalities as well as being Jewish. We ate lunch at Aroma, which is where we got lunch the first day so it’s a perfect ending. It’s a little rainy today so we are going to the Azrielli famous mall. See you in 2018!!


Wrap up: Tal Dror, shlicha

​Hi there, it’s Tal. I’m the last person who is writing our blog. I wish I could find the perfect way to describe for you in one sentence how these eight days have been. But, I can’t- because these eight days were built from more than a word or a picture, they were built from tons of pictures, jokes, food, songs, culture, knowledge, new things, connections, sunrises, sunsets, Hebrew, togetherness, friendships and experiences. We did so many things during this week- we started in the north and got to meet a different culture from a typical school to the different religions. We explored the Kinneret and listened to Nadav’s parents sharing their story, then we had an amazing and powerful weekend in Jerusalem and ended in Tel Aviv shopping and studying in the same way. It sounds short, but it’s full of things that make it so special and unique. Our last day as a group was amazing. We were so lucky to experience the Israeli winter and study about Teva (nature), and to listen to an amazing speaker from #standwithus. The kids asked so many questions and explored so many new things about Israel. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to show your amazing kids my home and get them to know my beautiful country from every different corner: North, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I’m excited to be back, get together with them again. As we said and agreed today: we have a new community which is us- having something in common and sharing this connection together. Until tomorrow, have a Laila Tov (good night) from Israel. It was my pleasure to bring your kids here with me, and I’m thankful and happy about it.
TAL שותפות סובב כנרת Sovev Kinneret Partnership Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul