Neve Final Blog

The last few days of Neve Michael were filled with emotions. Tuesday, the older Kevutzot went to Luna Park. The kids and volunteers had a blast going on the exciting rides and spending time together around the park. The smiles on all the kids faces that day will forever be sketched in my mind and seeing how much fun the volunteers and kids were having together really made my summer. The highlight for me was being at the top of the Ferris wheel with two volunteers and one of my kids and looking out at the rest of the park and realizing that this summer we had truly made a difference. We gave these kids hope. We gave these kids the confidence to believe in themselves and push towards their dre

Last Day in Paradise

It's hard to believe that 4 weeks after walking through the gates of Achuzat Sara alone, I walk out a new person, humbled to have joined a larger family. For most people, Achuzat Sara is equated to the modern day gan edan, a place far removed from the simpleness of this world. While many of us walked through that gate on July 1st genuinely excited to take part of this modern day gan edan, I couldn't help but feel ambivalent towards it all. I became frustrated, why wasn't it clicking why wasn't this place what I had wanted it to be and more what was I missing? Although it took some time, I realized that I had to put in the appropriate time and effort to truly see results. Step out of my com

Count Your Blessings

Danced a lot during Purim in July Then I saw a kid just sitting on the side Look In his face like he was bouta cry So I took a seat next to him and asked him why Didn't get an answer not even a face So I took him outside and I sat and wait Showed I was here for him and sat till 8 He wanted to leave so we went to his place He crawled up into bed and that's when it hit me All he had to his name was one dirty Pair of shoes what a pity I sat on his bed and thought to myself He's living on earth but it seems like hell All I care about is to live life well But this kids life is not to swell I walked outside and I cried and yelled This kid gets outta bed every morning While hi

Color my World

On the second to last day of the summer we gathered the entire Panimia on the field. Coordinators and volunteers threw red and blue balloons and squirted red and blue paint out of water guns. We came into the morning with lots of energy and low expectations. We knew that color war, a concept that came naturally to the Americans, would seem foreign to these kids. They were confused and it took lots of work and patience to get them to understand what exactly colorwar was. As I looked around the soccer field I saw the different reactions the kids had to this new concept and it really reminded me of the first day we came. When we came, there were those that gave us huge hugs when we walked into

Olympics 2017

To kick off our last week with the kids, we went to iJump, which is a massive trampoline complex. Although it was exhausting, both the kids and the Americans had a blast. When we got back to the home, we began the planning for the Pnimiya wide Olympic Games. We practiced for a flash mob, had tshirts made for all the kids to distinguish between the four different teams, and headed to the basketball court to break out the olympics with tons of enthusiasm. Unfortunately, our enthusiasm for the upcoming activity was not matched by the kids. The kids seemed tired and disinterested at first, but as we kept our morale and spirit high, more and more kids decided to participate in the activities. Alt

We Are Family

We got up about 30 minutes earlier than we usual do yesterday morning. On a normal summer day that would be a bummer, but given that I was about to spend time with my new brothers I was actually happy to get up earlier. After we prayed, we went out to the buses to the place that we were staying and the first thing I saw was about 40 small tents. I was really not sure how the sleeping arrangement was going to be and who I would be with. One of the kids who is not even in my group came up to me, gave me a hug and then asked me if I would be with him, his friend, and another American. This was touching, because me and this kid spoke opposite laungages and had a hard time understanding each othe

All A-Bored

This summer at Achuzat Sara has been jam packed with a lot of trips, and with trips comes a lot of long bus rides. While these rides could consist of a lot of exhausted volunteers catching up on some sleep, most of the Americans choose to sit with the children and to utilize this downtime as time to better get to know the Israelis in a quieter, calmer setting. I'll admit that I originally started off the bus rides with an aisle seat open next to me and my earphones plugged into my iPod, but luckily Neama chose to sit next to me from day one. She took the left ear pod out of my ear and placed it in hers. Neama then told me to play songs like "Mama" and "Know No Better", and I was immediately

A Taste of Goodbye

Today was the 2nd last day that the Pnimiyot Yom kids will be part of our daily routine at Afula. Because of this, we staged a 4th of July style carnival on the basketball court to give them one more great day at the home. The kids absolutely loved it. Everywhere we turned there was another kid smiling, another kid on the shoulders of a volunteer, or another water balloon being thrown. After lunch, we spent almost no time on land. First we went kayaking with the kids, and then we had a dance party on a boat ride through the Kinnerett. Despite the fact that the boat was shaking, the energy on the boat was still great, and kids still wanted to dance! It was great to finally reunite with our k

Coming Home

We just had our last Shabbat at Neve. It's crazy how fast time flies here. Shabbat was filled with even more ruach than usual because of the energy we all put in to maximize our last Shabbat of the summer. After beautiful Shabbat dinners in our respective kevutzot, a buzz of energy circulated the home as everyone came outside to the main grassy area to chill, laugh, and spend time together. The energy continued into the next day with "Ana Bekoach" chants and Shabbat zmirot in the chadar ochel during our communal lunch. The truth is that years from now, I'll probably forget who I spoke to Friday night and who I danced with during Shabbat lunch. But there is one experience from this Shabbat th

Taking Advantage of Every Day

Although Sunday's at Achuzat Sarah are usually calmer days because the kids slowly return after spending Shabbat at home, this Sunday was jam packed with activities and fun. Since it is the last week, everyone is eager to have the best time possible and make the most of every final day. We want to make that one last good impression, and change that one last kids life for the better. The day started with yoga led by Achuzat's very own Kira Fox. It was the perfect way to start our day after a physically draining night in Caesarea. After that, there was a soccer game with the members of Gabe's former unit from the Israeli army. People of all ages were able to enjoy the game of soccer with curre

Khof Day

As the last weekend approaches I start to reminisce on the summer we all just experienced. To think back to the first weekend I realize that I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. I felt as if I knew but I didn't fully understand. Now as the last weekend approaches I think I get a better understanding of what this summer is really about. Today the Americans headed out to Herzliya after an amazing week with the kids. We got to hangout at Max's house, go for lunch, and even got to spend time at the beach. It's an amazing feeling to think that all of us came onto this program for the same reason: the kids. On this program, the friendships you make are not at all in the ordinary bu

Self harm to self confidence

I love Shabbat especially in Achuzat Sara. I was very emotional that it was our last Shabbat in the home. We had extremely meaningful long Kabalat Shabbat with loads of singing and dancing. After dinner, we had a session where we all took turns complimenting each other. Then we were all split up into couples and threesomes so that we could really bond with volunteers that we haven't gotten to know so well yet. Everyone had great conversations late at night luring on the soccer field. I had many deep and meaningful conversation throughout establishing relationships with many volunteers. On Shabbat afternoon, we had a really nice session talking about our most meaningful moments of the summer

Worth the Weight

This summer at KH, has tested our limits of what we can accomplish, both internally and externally. This past night was no exception. As shabbos came to close, we journeyed to Caesarea and met up with Rav Yair and Talpiyot. When we got off the bus, we all started going crazy and danced and I thought this night was going to be a fun night, to bond with my peers. I was mistaken. We were told to get into three lines, pairs of two, and keep quiet. The night that was full of ruach turned to a solemn and real tone. We began our journey carrying the stretcher across the beach. The stretcher hurt, it was heavy, our feet were sandy, and the water persistently splashed on our feet. Everyone was aching

Shabbos at Afula

This past weekend, Afula was able to enjoy another amazing Shabbos. The kids were unable to join us, so we all took this as an opportunity to grow closer. Shabbos started off with spectacular Friday night services, which were mixed together with singing and dancing, to create the utmost meaningful and spiritual environment; the energy in the room was palpable. Then, everyone went into the cafeteria for a tasteful dinner prepared by the Afula staff. While eating, we all went around reminiscing in our favorite and most meaningful moments of the summer. This reassured everyone that we have been helping our kids in a meaningful way and will end off our summer as strong as possible. After eating

"Soldier" For A Night

Saturday July 22nd, 2017 "Army Night" Last night, many of us achieved more than we ever thought we were capable of. Immediately after Shabbat ended we were told to get ready in ten minutes and board the busses. We were brought to one of the entrances of the Caesarea beach where we were welcomed by Achuzat Sara, also preparing to begin our intense night. After being taught how to hold someone on a stretcher, three people were chosen to be the ones carried while 12 were chosen to carry, 4 people per stretcher. I was not chosen to hold anyone as they we began to enter the beach, which was To my advantage because it allowed me to acknowledge what was going on around me and to shift my mood to a

Walking the Line

Today the entire Achuzat Sarah went to the amusement park Super Land. The kids were extremely excited and the volunteers were prepared for a day of long lines and roller coaster rides. As soon as we got to the park, my campers were running toward the rides. As I was waiting with my campers on line, we struck up a conversation with the people behind us. They asked us where we were from. One of my campers, Michal, explained that we were all from the "panimia," or orphanage. One of the girls on line was confused, and kept asking questions. Again, Michal asserted that we were from the panimia. I noticed she was uncomfortable and I decided to intervene. I looked at the girl on line and said "I am

Caving In

Rav Yair described the story of Koby Mandell tonight. As he stated, Koby was a 13 year old with American and Israeli identities whose body was discovered underground. Many hunted for answers to their plethora of questions in order to unearth the truth about this tragedy. Koby's story could have been abandoned forever inside a cave, if not for those courageous enough to explore the darkness and create a vision even when sight was no longer present. Often times, we are blinded and deafened by loud lights and are in need of assistance from the totality and clarity of silence and darkness; Only through darkness and through taking a step back can one truly see the stars and can voices truly be he

Goodbye Pnimiyat Yom

As usual, saying goodbye was harder than I thought it would be. Today we said bye to the Pnimiyat Yom kids for the last time. Therefore I want to reflect on some of my best memories of kids on the Pnimiyat Yom program. The first day we met the Pnimiyat Yom group, I had the pleasure of meeting a little girl named Oshrit. Without even asking my name Oshrit grabbed me, gave me a big hug and said "אני אוהב אותך", which means "I love you". This is the opposite of what I had expected from the kids, Oshrit being so friendly in spite of her situation was truly empowering for me, and helped me gain the confidence to form personal connections with Oshrit and several other kids throughout the summer. O

Positive Reinforcement

July 20th can be summarized by positive reinforcement. As we went down the treacherous mountain, we saw emotions of volunteers, children, madrichim, and coordinators. Some were scared, some were nervous, and some were excited. We arrived to a pool at the bottom of the mountain where almost everyone went in and had a great time. As some of us looked around we saw that many people were injured, and when we heard that we needed to climb back up the mountain, our jaws dropped. What helped us most going back up the mountain, was the love that we got from the people around us. One girl who hurt her foot badly climbed up the mountain as if she never got injured, and it was because of the support sh

What a Ball

Today, each achuzat Sara camper and American volunteers gave it their all in order to win the coveted achuzat Sara 17 World Cup trophy. The competition included a short six game regular season leading up to a one game elimination playoff. Each game was played with passion, high intensity, and most importantly good sportsmanship. The teams were simple, each kvutza played for a different country: alon was Italy, dekel was Portugal, egoz was Spain, and achva was Holland. The regular season took the entire morning spanning from post davening until lunch. After lunch we took a trip to the bowling alley where all competitors had a chance to relax from the heat of competition. The time to relax fro

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