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Last Shabbat with Sinai Tour 

We arrived on Friday and got a shock, Ibexes, strong winds and smelly socks. 

Everyone scrubbed up well,

Holding their hair back in pictures in order to look swell. 

Exchanging gifts for one another,

Whilst expressing our love for each other. 

Kabbalat Shabbat, we sang together,

Making the moment Last forever.

After dinner we assembled in teams,

Putting in mouth pieces, making us beam. 

Singing songs with our mouths open wide

Rapping and rhyming about slides. 

The next morning we were woken up late,

Something which we all did rate. 

Davening did drag on and on

“Oh Hashem not today” said Cohn. 

Starving and tired, for kiddish we moaned 

Arik was not happy and he groaned 

Shiur was replaced by a Q and A

Two state solution, YAY or nay?

A dare tochnit gave everyone a scare 

Licking ears and toes “what a mare?” 

In six minutes two planks were complete 

Two bottles downed and two socks from sams feet

To the craters edge we walked 

Viewing the site while yaakov talked and talked and talked 

Ending Shabbat with seudah shlishit

If only we had been in Bereshit 

We were inspired by sams speech 

Aspirations to be cool and frum in the reach 

The night ended with a star gazing tochnit

Around the bonfire we all did sit 
By Rebecca Bornstein and Chloe Gold

Tisha Be’av with Sinai Tour

Yad vasham we came in tears

And never forgetting the fears, 

Loss that came as a cost

6m were killed and many were lost  

But here we are today 

Living the right way

Standing with pride 

For all those who died
Sinus Chinam took place 

Hatred towards the race

People killing, people dying 

Whilst Chanichim were crying 

We watched a film which touched our heart

In which we all took part 

Including words that hurt 

And actions which made people feel like dirt 
When we needed to pee

We legit just weed 

Even tho it was a fast, we all had a blast 

And baby d got a cast 

Anticipation we arrived at the kotel  

With flags on our backs 

Quite frankly needing snacks 

Dancing and singing 

Whilst our heads were ringing 

Breaking our fast on the coach was a joke

Because none of us could cope 

Counting down in 1,2,3,4

Stuffing our faces more and more.
~ Debbie Taj and Dina Phillips 

Second weekend on Sinai Tour

Friday morning, after a delicious breakfast we set off on the coach to the biblical zoo where some of us did fun and crazy initiative tests whilst others relaxed in the grass. We then made a quick visit to meah shearim where we spent some time shopping in Mannys before walking to machaneh yehudah market for some Friday afternoon shopping and lunch. We bought souvenirs, food and jewellery as well as 10 shekel gifts for each other which we exchanged on the coach. We then headed to the hotel, purchases in hand, in order to prepare for shabbat early so that we could get to the kotel in time for a quick shiur before kabbalat shabbat. After an uplifting erev shabbat davening which was shared at the kotel with many other tours from all over the world we headed to netiv aryeh yeshivah for a delicious but spicy dinner overlooking the kotel, before a heart rending tish sitting on the kotel plaza. We then enjoyed a long walk to the hotel, and went to bed ready for shacharit the next day. On shabbat morning, we enjoyed shacharit with Rabbi Andrew shaw of mizrachi joining us before a shiur, kiddush, and lunch. We then had two hours to shluf before a group game, minchah and a walk to the knesset where we spent time looking at the beautiful menorah sculpture outside the building and learning about the decoration on it. We returned to the hotel for seudah shlishit before mariv and havdalah. After shabbat we all walked to sacher gardens where IDF soldier Sam baum gave us a taste of army basic training (which some of us enjoyed more than others). We then returned to our hotel, ready to sleep and gather energy for another long and exciting day tomorrow!

First weekend on Sinai Tour

(To the beat of “staying alive”)
Picking up where binny and viggy left off,

We will continue the story of our Israel tour,
On Friday we hiked on mount arbel,

Although some of our number nearly fell,
Later we had a mishna era experience,

We rode donkeys on the heat,

But ayals donkey was dead beat.
And dinner was ok
On shabbat we breaked from our hectic week,

Although a visit a cow farm produced a few squeals,
After the sun set we boarded the coach Tiberius bound,

And listened to some sounds (A capella) as we sailed around,
As Sunday arrived another hike was due,

Climbing meron we enjoyed the view,
We visited the grave of the rabbi bar yochai,

Before travelling to Haifa to visit the gardens of ba’hai,
We learnt about the Druze and had a supper that was yummy,

Before arriving at our new hostel in the scenic village of shlomi,
This morning we hiked for the best part of four hours,

And then travelled to the prison for an audio visual presentation about the jews who escaped from that prison in akko in 1948 after blowing up the wall (and a tour)
Then we enjoyed the views from a exciting cable car,

Before watching another audio visual presentation about how the sea caresses the rocks but sometimes it may strike and pound the rocks,

(Then we went in a grotto)
We returned to the beautiful city akko,

To hear a speech by a rabbi,

Although many of our number took the opportunity to catch 40 winks.
Now we are en route to the beautiful village of shlomi,

Hopefully another yummy supper will be soon in our tummies.
~Banksy

Day 2 of Sinai Tour 

Hot and sweaty, knees weak, guns are heavy, our visors fogged up already

Halachnu LePaintballing

In the early Shaot of the morning

A brilliant way to start the day, Yom Chamishi of our Sinai Tour Holiday

After Paintballing, Came Kayaking

A strong Achdut, whilst capsizing

But each man for himself when it came to rowing
Lunch served on the banks of the Jordan, enough delicious food to fill all us yungen
On the coach we boarded, towards the holy city of Tzfat

An inspirational speaker, whilst we all sat on a mat

Kabbalistic views, brink of weird. Expert geezer, typically defined by his payot and beard.

The shul of the ARI we visited

And in that of R’ Yossef Caro we Mincha’d

A tiring and fulfilling day, much learnt

Concluded by a majestic waterfight in the evening, prior to an immediate bedtime because we were exhausted and all needed sleep
-Binny and Viggy

Day 1 of Sinai Tour

Yesterday was the first full day of Sinai Tour, most people had their suitcases and were ready to go on.
Starting off the day with a great water hike, on this adventure we met the Swiss rafters, the lufthanzsers of this world. 
We then watched a wonderful movie on the tank brigades in the north that sent shivers down Matt’s spine.
We ate some shnitzel baguettes for lunch. Scrumptious! Yum yum yum. Yum.
We finished off our day’s activity with some Jeeping, it was a fantastic end to a great day.
Love,
Matt Sasieni and Raphi Schachter

Parashat Vayera: Hagar – The Journey of Education

by Josh Gaventa, Rosh Madrich.

Parashat Vayera is packed full of stories worth dealing with. There is the story of the three angels visiting Avraham after his Brit Milah, the story of how Yitzchak was born, the dramatic events in Sodom and finally the heart-wrenching story of Akeidat Yitzchak.

One of the key themes of the Parasha is hospitality. We read how Avraham exemplified Jewish hospitality to his three guests and we read of how Sodom treated their guests with suspicion and eventually drove them out from amongst them. The fear of the ‘other’ is perhaps one of the most destructive forces in today’s world and these stories could teach us a great deal about the unconditional love, or at least respect for the ‘other’. However, I would like to focus on a different story entirely.

The story of Hagar and Ishmael’s banishment from Avraham’s camp is for me, very troubling. Avraham, the paragon of Ahavat Chessed, a loving-kindness and of Emunah – faith, decides to banish an innocent woman and child from his home; leaving them to the wilderness. How could this be? This question notwithstanding, I think another message can be learnt from this story.

During the eleven Pesukim that the Torah gives to the story, Hagar casts off her son under a tree so that she doesn’t have to see him die. Then an angel calls to her and tells her not to worry because God has decided to help her, and the angel reveals a well for them both to drink from. The story levels off shortly after the child has grown up and we learn that God was ‘with him’. I would like to highlight this story and present to you an educational message which lies within.

If we imagined that Hagar was a teacher or a Madricha, we would find that Hagar makes a fundamental educational error, and is then given a vital lesson in education from an angel. The error she makes is despair. She despairs that the death of her child is inevitable and she gives up hope in him. This is part one of her mistake. An educator can never give up on their students. Hagar then places a distance between them so that she doesn’t have to see his death. This is part two of her mistake. Even if education becomes difficult and challenges arise, an educator can never deliberately place distance between themselves and their students.

The angel responds to Hagar’s misery by giving her the tools she needs to heal her child. In our analogy, the angel has given her the perfect lesson plan for her troublesome students but it comes with an additional element which I think is vitally important. The angel commands her to first “lift up the youth and grasp your hand upon him.” (Gen 21:18) The angel tells her to recover her faith in the child before she heals him. In our analogy, the angel tells Hagar to rediscover her passion for teaching before she can give the perfect lesson.

At Sinai Youth we believe that when we educate, it is not enough for us to have the right amount of knowledge or experience so that we can get the child from A to B, or often from B to A, but it is the mind-set we approach children with which is key. To quote W B Yeats: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” Our students and Chanichim must be as giants in our eyes, not as grasshoppers. At Sinai we believe that all our chanichim have the potential to achieve and to develop their knowledge and interest given the right tools. Further, once we have raised up the child in our eyes, we then can “place our hand upon him.” In our analogy, we must approach the child with love and joy, to metaphorically, hold their hand and offer support. Hagar taught us that despair is natural, nobody would begrudge her that, but the angel taught us that after despair comes hope, and from hope comes love and with that we can set about educating our Chanichim to rise to their challenges with a sense of hope and joy.

Shabbat Shalom.

Day 8 of Sinai Tour 2015 

As the blinds were opened and the light penetrated our shortly rested eyes, we knew another day of tour had started. A beautiful shacharit led by one of our wonderfully gifted chanichim preceded another tasty breakfast. This was followed by each chanich filling up their water for the rest of the upcoming day and boarding the Sinai bus. Shmu’s sesquipedalian continued to entertain everyone who managed to stay awake on the way to our first activity, the Gush Katif museum. We watched video clips of the history of Gush Katif any when the Jewish population were evicted from the area, which triggered a range of emotions. On the whole, it was an excellent start to the day. Yad Sarah was next in the action-packed day. We started with a short movie of introduction to the charitable organisation that provides medical equipment for emergency situations. Many of us were amused by the tone of voice used in the movie when saying “yad saraaaah.” In good spirits, we split up into 2 groups to do some volunteering such us cleaning the wheels of used wheelchairs. The exciting prospect of meat sandwiches for lunch filled our hearts. The meal lived up to expectations. Feeling full and satisfied we moved on to the stalagmite caves which were truly mesmerising. We got back into the coach and headed to an unknown destination. We were greeted by the pleasant surprise that we would be cycling around Chirbat Midras. It was quite a competitive ride with many clandestine attempts made to overtake one another but it was all in good nature. After an exhausting day we arrived back at the Ramada hotel and ate dinner together. However the day was not quite finished. We had the privilege of a special concert for the last night with shtar who performed brilliantly and had everyone jumping on their feet. As their concert came to an end and our eyes began to shut on us, we were told that the eighth day of tour had come to an end. It was time to re-enter our deep sleeps for the short time that we had before another day of tour shall commence.Written by: Solomon Levy 

Day 7 of Sinai Tour 2015 

We head downstairs to daven Shacharit and have breakfast before loading on to the coach and setting off to our first destination. The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. We split into groups for a treasure hunt and each one is given a map, a booklet and a tablet. Things are clearly getting serious. After an hour and a half of completing long and arduous tasks, we have a winner. The prize? The satisfaction of winning. A classic. We are feeling a bit drained after the taxing treasure hunt and so the sight our madrichim holding piles of steaming pizza boxes raise our spirits sky high. We then move on to The Blind Museum. We step far out of our comfort zones and are rewarded with an enlightening experience. Our guides are either visually impaired or blind and guide us around a pitch-black area, placing us in everyday situations and showing us how they are dealt with from a blind persons perspective. This includes simple errands and tasks like crossing a busy road or shopping for fruit in a market. Afterwards we are given the opportunity to talk to our guide and ask them questions about their lives without sight. The next stop is Machon Ayalon- a kibbutz and former bullet factory where bullets were secretly manufactured which essentially aided Israel in securing its independence. Later that evening the girls went to a karaoke place, singing their lungs out before taking Ben Yehuda street, whilst the boys play football and go swimming. A few hours later we give into our exhaustion and crash out, anticipation growing for the inevitably thrilling day ahead.Written by: Kira Moshal 

Day 6 of Sinai Tour 2015 

Tisha Baav started with davening and some kinnos in the hotel where we were split into groups and seperated between the madrichim where we discussed the meaning of a selection of kinnos.One madricha, Tali, spoke about kinnah 26. The main point we talked about was how the wording was slightly strange in the kinnah as it suggested that Yirmiyahu davened to our patriarchs and matriarchs rather than to HaShem Himself which we know isn’t true. After much disscussion we concluded that we daven through these people rather than to them so we’re essentially using their merit when we are turning to HaShem in times of need. 
After the kinnos we made our way to Yad Vashem which was very moving and an amazing experiance especially on Tisha Ba’av in particular as we mourn the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh. 
After that we went to Har Herzel – a cementry for fallen soldiers and police officers. During the trip we went to the grave of Michael Levine who was one of the first lone soliders in recent times to have died for Israel. 
Just before we left Har Herzel we were given an Israeli flag and pen to write fallen soilders names on and to parade them and be proud of our country.

After a bit of rest time anyone who was feeling up to it went to the kotel to sing and dance out the fast to bring joy rather than pain. 
Another day of tour done!
Written by: Benji Shebson

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