The Beginning- By Sophie Visscher-Lubinizki

We have only been here for a short 2 and a half weeks yet I can speak for most of the class in saying we are already having a life changing experience. We have spent our time getting used to the crazy Muss schedule and the even crazier cafeteria. We spent our first Shabbat on campus and were able to meet some kids from other schools.

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We have had the opportunity to go on three tiyulim (trips) in our time here.

Our first tiyul was to Jerusalem and Safed. Some highlights fro m the trip include hiking down a mountain, taking pictures on the monster, shopping at Ben Yehuda, Hezikah’s water tunnels, and most importantly; visiting the Kotel for the first time. It was a very special experience to be at such a holy place for the Jewish people together as a class.

Our Jewish journey continued on our second tiyul to Jerusalem on Yom Kippur. We were given the opportunity to go to 5 different synagogues for Yom Kippur. Some of us decided to ‘synagogue hop’ and experience a little taste of each service. We ended the day at the Kotel as a group.

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My personal favourite experience so far has been our third tiyul. Yesterday we visited a natural desert oasis and relaxed, swam and splashed. Today we woke up at 4 am to hike Masada to see the sunrise. Climbing the mountain under the stars was beautiful and challenging, but the real payoff was when we got to the top. We arrived just in time to see the sunrise above the mountains in Jordan, and that’s when it really hit me. We are in Israel. We are watching the sun rise in a place our ancestors did thousands of years ago and the seniors did last year. There’s so much build up to this trip, so much advice given from seniors and so many expectations. But I have no words to describe what it’s actually like to watch the sun rise and yell into the mountains with your classmates. I was exhausted, but I’ve never felt more awake.  We had a relaxing afternoon floating in the Dead Sea and covering ourselves in Mud!

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In these past 17 days we have already bonded as a class and are learning things about ourselves and each other. We haven’t experienced any major ‘downs’ as a class, but when they come we are ready for them and can handle them together. I am loving every minute of this trip, and traveling and learning as a class is amazing.

We miss you all and Shabbat Shalom!

“Let’s get a כיפאק for the junior class!”

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With love, Sophie and the Junior Class

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