Israel mission. Chabad’s mission to Israel during January 15–24 was filled with spirituality, excitement, history lessons, a love of Israel, and all-around fun. Israel has a way of infusing people with spiritual adrenalin that allows them to experience an inordinate number of sights in a short amount of time, and that was true of the whole mission.
The group enjoyed explanations from the learned, well-traveled, and well-spoken Rabbi Zalman Wolowik and tour guide David Soloman, who used their tireless energy to explain the halachic, chassidic, and Midrashic history of Israel. Israel Maven Tours did a spectacular job in arranging a tour that was well suited to all the participants.
Fascinating learning opportunities included learning about underground bullet manufacturing during the British Mandate at the Ayalon Institute, appreciating the senses by visiting Dialogue in the Darkness Museum, and a firsthand, thought-provoking political update on the State of Israel by Mr. Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post’s senior correspondent.
The mission volunteered with Israel’s Project Leket–Israel’s National Food Bank, gleaning fruits for distribution to Israel’s needy. Everyone enthusiastically participated and picked an amazing 800 kilograms of clementines, helping to feed well over 400 families that week.
A highlight of the trip was visiting an army base up north and sponsoring, along with Five Towns community members, a delicious (and much appreciated!) barbecue for the soldiers on the base. More than 300 soldiers were uplifted by the music and gifts. The soldiers deeply appreciated a special laminated chapter of Tehillim and sweets that were prepared as a chesed in connection with the bar mitzvah year of Levi Yitzchak Wolowik, a’h. Personalized leather sifrei Tehillim were distributed to female soldiers in Kiryat Arba in honor of the bat mitzvahs of Hana Adler and Devora Golombeck.
At Kfar Chabad, the group learned about some of the many activities offered by Chabad, such as the Children of Chernobyl program, and assisting victims of terror and their families. The spirit of Purim was palpable as everyone packed over 1,000 mishloach manot that will be distributed to the brave men and women serving in the IDF. A visit to the matzah factory and to the 770 replica of the Chabad Lubavitch Worldwide Headquarters in Brooklyn proved to be interesting as well as inspiring.
Who could resist wine and chocolate? The adults enjoyed spending time at the Psagot Winery with beautiful scenery of the Shomron. Naturally, tasting the wine produced in that region was part of the itinerary. The DeKarina Chocolate factory was a delicious way for parents and kids to learn about how chocolate is made, and they then had a blast making (and tasting!) their own chocolate.
We learn in Shmuel Aleph about Chanah, who was childless for 19 years and because of her sincere davening at Shiloh was blessed and became the mother of Shmuel HaNavi. In gratitude to Hashem, she composed Shiras Chanah. Hana Adler, a bat mitzvah-age young lady, led everyone in the group in Shiras Chanah at Shiloh, the site where the Mishkan stood for 369 years. Everyone davened for couples who should be blessed with children.
In the mystical city of Tsfat, the group enjoyed the scenic views and narrow cobblestone alleys revealing artists’ galleries and old synagogues. They learned firsthand about how sifrei Torah, tefillin, and mezuzos are written, though a special 3D movie and interactive game show at Otzar Stam. They watched a live glass-blowing demonstration by Sheva Chaya, a Kabbalistic artisan.
The group spent an inspiring Shabbat in Yerushalayim and welcomed Shabbat at one of the holiest places on earth—the Kotel! The Shabbat experience included singing and dancing with true Chabad spirit.
Visiting Me’arat HaMachpelah, Kever Rochel (Rachel’s Tomb), and the kevarim of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Meron and the Rambam allowed the group another holy experience, connecting with 4,000 years of history in a most tangible fashion.
Adventure seekers enjoyed zip-lining, jeeping through the Golan Heights, climbing through the bunkers, and camel rides.
The group paid tribute to the memory of the six million at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and Children’s Memorial. They had an especially meaningful twinning bar–bat mitzvah program.
The trip ended with a relaxing cruise on the Kineret and a farewell dinner at Decks Restaurant in Tiberias, where a bar/bat mitzvah celebration for all the boys and girls in the group who were celebrating their bar and bat mitzvas in the near future.
Everyone had a truly uplifting and enjoyable time, being inspired by those who reside in Israel and inspiring them at the same time, by our solidarity.
David Nesenoff at Friday-night dinner. Rabbi David Nesenoff is known for his mind-blowing delivery, incredible humor, and powerful life-changing messages. Enjoy a delicious dinner on February 8, 7:00 p.m. at 74 Maple Avenue in Cedarhurst and hear Rabbi Nesenoff, Yale University keynote speaker, share the inside story of the anti-Semitic remarks that Helen Thomas made to him at the White House and the fallout when her comments went viral.
“GO HOME! The inside story of what Helen Thomas said to me” is a reflection on his now infamous interview with the ousted dean of the White House press corps. In addition to Nesenoff’s amazing behind-the-scene details of his White House episode, he will share about everything from his relationship with the Divine, his front-row seat in the world media, Israel, anti-Semitism, and his personal amazing supernatural journey. It is a story of cyber-hatred, life-threatening danger, and, oddly enough, incredible humor.
A special program for children will be included.
Cost is $30 per adult and $18 per child (ages 2–13). Reservations are required and space is limited. Call 516-295-2478 or visit www.Chabad5towns.com. v