Week 1 with Explore Israel and Entrepreneurship

Blog image - Week 1 with Explore Israel and Entrepreneurship

Shalom all! Our long-awaited summer sessions began just one week ago, but if you ask our students I'm sure they will tell you if feels like they have been here for far longer.  

We didn't hesitate for a single day, and we have been busy journeying around Israel, digging deep into Jewish history, and experiencing the intensity of Israel’s day to day.

The students arrived last Wednesday, explored our campus in Hod HaSharon and met their Madrichim for the summer. Our Madrichim live in the dormitories with the students and are there for them as mentors and counselors 24/7 throughout our program. 

On Thursday we met Joseph Gitler, founder of  Leket Israel, an amazing organization that collects surplus food from restaurants, hotels, and farmers and distributes it to those in need. We heard his story and then travelled to a kohlrabi field in Rishon Lzion. We spent some time harvesting produce which will be distributed to families in need throughout Israel. 

Dusty and hot, we journeyed to Tel Aviv for a refreshing lunch at Sarona Market. 

From the cool, colorful and joyful market we drove five minutes to Hostages Square, the epicenter of mourning, memory and activism of the families and communities of the 120 Israeli hostages still held in Gaza. We heard from the cousin of one of the hostages and saw the art and installations in the square. 

On Friday, Explore Israel headed to Neot Kedumim, a botanical garden of biblical plants and animals to learn about the land of Israel and practice shepherding, a prerequisite for any Jewish leader. 

At the same time, the entrepreneurs began their studies and both groups met at the bustling Machane Yehudah market in Jerusalem for some Friday pre-Shabbat snacks and shopping. 

On Friday night the students danced and sang at the Kotel and stayed in a Jerusalem Hotel. 

On Sunday morning the entrepreneurs went on a running tour of Jerusalem and the explorers toured the Sataf nature reserve, learning about the tribal and agricultural roots of the people of Israel. 

Both groups toured Jerusalem's most ancient core, the city of David, seeing the archaeological remains of biblical Jerusalem and walking through the 2,700 year old aqueduct tunnel dug by King Hezekiah of Jerusalem to protect the city from siege.  

On Monday the entrepreneurs continued their studies on campus and the explorers participated in some campus seminars, including a rhythm and drumming class, and an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) training experience. 

On Tuesday we continued our exploration of Jewish history, touring the ruins of second temple era Jerusalem. The Jewish tradition states that Jerusalem was destroyed because of hatred and division within the Jewish people, and we spoke about the importance of love and care for our fellow Jews that must be strong enough to overcome our differences and move forward for a bright future. We continued on into the Judean desert and cooled off in the pools of the En Gedi oasis. 

On Wednesday morning both groups woke before dawn to ascend Masada, watching the sunrise from the top of this ancient structure and learning the story of the last stand of the Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire. 

After Masada we went to float in the Dead Sea and eat hot fresh Hummus. 


On Thursday, we continued our studies and touring, which led us to a much-needed free weekend to see friends and family and rest after all our adventures.

We are truly blessed to be able to go on this beautiful adventure of learning and experience together in Israel this summer. We are so happy to have your teens here with us and we hope and believe it will be a summer of connection, joy and learning that will inspire them. 

Shabbat Shalom!