Soille San Diego Hebrew Day 8th Graders go to Israel

Through My Israel Journey — Teen Subsidy Program, we grant eligible teens living in San Diego County a one-time award of up to $1,500 toward participation in an approved program in Israel. These immersive experiences serve to connect teens to the homeland while strengthening their commitment to the Jewish community. We asked recent participant, Ariel, to share highlights from his trip. Here is what he had to say:

My Israel journey was an unforgettable experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Not only did we have lots of fun doing hikes and riding jeeps, we visited many spiritual sites, like Kever Rachel and the Kotel. I had so many great memories on this trip, and I am so thankful to the Jewish Federation for helping make this trip possible.  

One of my favorite experiences was when we hiked down Har Arbel. We walked down a steep mountainside in 100-degree weather. In order to get down, we had to hold on to a rope while walking down the side of the mountain. Then around half way through the hike, we saw the caves that the Jews used to hide from the Romans. We explored the caves, and saw how our ancestors used to live. I thought that it was so cool to see, and be in the exact place where the Jews who learned in secret lived. 

Ariel Adato in front of the Western Wall
Another fun experience that I had was Jeep riding in the Golan Heights with my class. We all got into the jeeps and drove through the kibbutz. It was so nice to see how the Jews live today. Then when we got to the top, we walked through the bunker that was there. This bunker protected the Golan Heights from intruders. However, going up the mountain, was just half the fun, on the way back, we drove next to minefields, and saw cows being milked. Then when we were about to end the ride, the Jeeps got stuck in a river, so we all got out of the car, and pushed it out of the water. That was an experience that I will never forget.

I also enjoyed visiting the spiritual sites, such as the Kotel. I have been to the Kotel before, but never learned about its importance. I was fascinated to learn that the Kotel is just a small section of what used to be there, when the Beit Hamikdash was around. I also enjoyed spending Shabbat at the kibbutz with all of my friends, and making new ones. There is just something special about being in Israel with all of your great lifelong friends and a great ending to my years at Hebrew Day. I remember reading the Torah in the hotels, and praying in the middle of the plane.

The trip taught me so much about Israel, and I had so much fun learning everything about the Jewish state. In conclusion, I would like to thank the Jewish federation for helping make such an amazing trip possible. I would not change anything about the trip. It was so much fun and I am so happy that I was able to do this. It truly was an unforgettable experience and I cannot wait to come back.

More information about Federation's My Israel Journey program can be found here.



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