L2L Jerusalem 2020
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Monday 24th February 2020


Day 1

Today was our first  day and we had a very busy, actioned packed thought provoking, emotional day. We started the morning after leaving the airport going for breakfast and then we went to Leket (an umbrella organisation) where we packed carrots and onions to be sent off to less fortunate families. We sent off 6000kg of carrots and 2000kg of onions, which is a great achievement which we are all very proud of.

Next we stopped off at a mall and had a quick bite to eat which everyone enjoyed and then got back on the coach and carried on with our day. We then went to Beit Issie Shapiro were we had an informative talk from Naomi, who is the founder of this inspirational centre. This was a moving talk and we much appreciated the fact she could be there to explain the centre to us. We had three different workshops where we really got to learn about and experience how the centre helps each one of the kids that go there individually. Some of us had interactions with the children in the playground, we saw and learnt about all the technology and also went into a multi-sensory room which helps children with their senses and movement. We also got the chance to hear from Stav, a blind woman who showed us all the positives of being disabled, and how she overcame the problems in her life. This was a truly moving talk and we are so thankful we got the chance to speak to her. 

After this we drove back to Jerusalem and when we arrived back, after settling down and eating dinner, we had time to reflect. Each of us went round in a circle and spoke about what inspired us about the day we had. This was a chance to hear everyone’s thoughts and opinions and was a reflective, thought provoking activity. Today was an inspiring start to the trip and we can’t wait for the week to come.

By Aimee, Maisie, Katie, Sophie and Issy 


Day 2

Today was day 2 in Israel. We woke up after a short but sweet beauty sleep. Immediately we went down to breakfast and after that had a short Tefillah workshop. Some of the boys put on Teffilin. We then travelled to Tel Aviv.

We arrived at King Solomon School, we were greeted by more food and Israeli students our age. The children our age there spoke good English. We then went to a year 1 class to teach them and read English with them. Some of the children were very good at English considering their age, so much so that one of them managed to correct some of us towards the correct pronunciation of chameleon.

We then took the coach to Tel Aviv Port where we ate a nice lunch, provided by the tribe team. We were given 30 minutes to amble around freely and observe the area. 

We then moved on to Chimes, which was a school for people with cognitive disabilities. We learnt a lot from them and enjoyed dancing, singing, arts and crafts and sports activities with them. They taught us how to dance and we even learnt some Hebrew from them. Rabbi Eli spoke to us afterwards and we came to realise just quite how much we'd learnt.

We said goodbye to the friends we made at chimes and made our way to Peres peace and innovation centre. In there we learnt about the predicted advancement in technology in around 40 years. These included: flights from Europe to New Zealand in 4 hours, calculating risk when someone is crossing a road and the ability to scan electrical objects for their contents. We then visited the office of Shimon Peres (an Israeli president) and we observed his many awards, including a Nobel peace prize. We understood his main message: dream big. Rabbi Eli pointed out a big sign saying dream big, and we observed there were pieces missing. He explained this meant, to achieve the big dreams we need to fill in the gaps.

From there, we took a short walk to an Israeli-Arab school. They taught us some Arabic, and we taught them a bit of English (of which they mostly knew). We got into groups and talked about questions we wanted to answer, such as: what do you want to be when you grow up or what is one thing that you love. We became friends with the boys and girls there, exchanging Snapchats.

We took the bus from there to a falafel restaurant, where we experienced the Israeli delicacy of bread, hummus, falafels, and vegetables.

Lastly we went back to the hotel and saw the video from today's events.

Written by Isaac S, with help from David P


Day 3

Today we woke up at the crack of dawn, as we were all tired from the night before. But little did we know that it was the start of another thrilling and thought provoking day in the holy land. First stop was a morning prayer for the boys and a disappointing and heart breaking loss of our phones being taken away. Anyhow, the day improved, the boys got off for yeshiva and the girls continued on their discovering journey of the land of Israel.

The girls left the bus on their way to Midreshet Moriah. In there we had the privilege to talk to girls currently studying there. We discussed many interesting things such as their reasons for studying the Torah during their gap year. Then we spilt off into smaller groups and studied in pairs with some of the girls, and the session ended in a group discussion.

For lunch we had bagels and drinks in the hospital. Then we heard from a young man who had survived a terrorist attack. He was only 13 years old when he and his friends had stepped on a mine, planted by a terrorist. He was rushed to hospital and treated for a week until he woke up. Since then he has had 30 surgeries and can now walk. One of his surgeries was done by a Muslim doctor who had found the anatomy of a Nazi during the Second World War. Only a few hospitals in the world use this detailed description of the body. So a Muslim saved the life of a Jew using the information from a Nazi. Then we went into a separate room with 2 clowns called Barbara and ‘Douch’, they taught us how to treat and play with the children in the hospital. We learnt many useful techniques and we were given presents to give to the children. One of the things that stood out the most was when he said “we don’t come in the room with a smile on our faces, we come in the room to bring smiles to the faces”. We then had the amazing opportunity to visit the hospital wards and actually bring the smiles to their faces. 


Later on in the day we arrived at Hatzalah -the world’s quickest emergency response service. We were taught how to perform CPR and how to administer the Heimlich manoeuvre. We were later amazed by the fact that it takes less than 90 seconds to respond to an emergency! Volunteers join up to Hatzalah to help out and make a difference. When they get called from the dispatch centre they are ready to go save lives with their ambucycle and first aid kit. There are around 6 thousand volunteers and Hatzalah is global and getting bigger by the moment. Hatzalah is free to use and they receive money from generous donators.

We ended the day with visitors evening and singing around a bonfire!

Overall the day taught us valuable life skills and how to be grateful for what you have.

By Lara Simon, and co


Day 4

Today was another early start to another brilliant day! Gabi (our madrich) knocked on all our doors telling us we were going to be late until we made it out of bed. We finally hit the road and drove to Yad Vashem. Yad Vashem was definitely without doubt a very hard experience to see what our fellow people have gone through. It made us all feel proud, inspired and truly emotional. It also opens our eyes to see how hard childrens lives were to have to leave their parents, some not even being bar/bat mitzvah yet.

Over 1.5 million children died during the holocaust. The final part of the morning, our tour guide took us to a cattle car and Rabbi Eli told us an eye opening story about the level of love shown from parents to children during the holocaust, an example of this being a father desperately clawing a hole in the wooden floorboards of a cattle cart telling his two sons to escape. This was all done while the train was still moving, adding an element of risk to the escape. The brothers both slipped through the hole but never saw each other again. However the one brother who survived made a life for himself and is now part of the south Hampstead community. Last but not least, we all faced towards a wall of remembrance and thoughtfully davened as one, celebrating our peace and safety against the oppression from the Germans. We all came together as one to sing some songs one being Vehi Sheamda.

A sharp pizza top-up afterwards and off we went to the old city. Our first stop of the afternoon was a visit to a man named Aryeh Grossman - he spoke to us about Koren publishing company and the value of Jewish books being published in Jerusalem. There was a display of various Jewish books that we were lucky enough to be able to purchase this has enabled us to expand our own Jewish library.

Our good fortune continued as we were taken on to a roof terrace from which we could see all over Jerusalem. A very peaceful rabbi talked over lots of different matters to us, one being how to enjoy life. He said that he spent 16 years in Asia using different strategies such as meditation and martial arts, even managing to get him black and brown belts. However he then turned to his own religion, Judaism and realised that the most significant factor to having a good life is not about looks or smartness but being happy and making a difference to the world, showing kindness to people even if you don’t believe in their appearance, religion or faith. Then we walked downstairs and watched an intriguing clip on Israel’s success following which we entered the hall of notes. In this special room we did some meditation and understood that all prayers enter the gates of heaven from the Western Wall. At this time we wrote notes to place in the wall.

After this we split, half of us went to virtual reality and half went to the wall to pray. Both were amazing. As a group we all felt a certain connection to God as we wore our Teffilin whilst saying the shemah. The Virtual reality was very cool because it showed us a brilliant understanding on what the Temple looked like. On the way back to the coach we had a few stops one being a small cemetery right next to some local houses in the centre of the city.

In the evening it was one of the best and exciting evenings of the whole trip. We all nervously waited to get in our Go Karts as we ignored the safety briefing. When the time came the rubber was burning and everyone went for it. Today was day 4 and it was a day of joy, grief and friendship. The tribe came together as a family.

Written by Ben Torns punctuated by David Popivker


Day 5


Friday was an emotional, interesting and overall superb day. After leaving Ramat Rachel we boarded the bus and drove to Har Herzl. Har Herzl is a cemetery for IDF soldiers who have died during their service, Prime ministers, Presidents and other Zionists. One we got there, we walked to the resting place of one of the proudest Zionists to ever live; Theodore Herzl. He was the man who helped set up the first Zionist Congress and if it weren’t for him, there might have been no Jewish state. After visiting the resting place of this Zionist hero we visited a memorial to victims of terror. This memorial has the names of all civilians who have died from even before the creation of the state of Israel. Other memorials included an upside down house which was in memory of the holocaust. Following this we visited the cemetery of Israeli statesman and women. We visited Yitzhak Rabin whom was assassinated and the iron woman; Golda Meir. To conclude our spiritual and Zionist trip to Har Herzl, we visited the military cemetery where IDF soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the State of Israel are buried. 


During the early afternoon we visited the Shuk where we were given free time to wander, barter, buy and eat. From eating the best shawarma to having a slice of special Jerusalem pizza (not at the same time of course) to buying gifts and less the legal designed hats, our group was able to accomplish quite a lot.


In the evening we took the coach to the Kotel where the boys and girls separated. We had Friday Night prayers at the western wall and sung many Jewish songs and danced with an array of people, including Indian tourists, a polish priest, IDF soldiers and many other people. It was incredibly moving and this was one of the most powerful Friday Nights and Shabbat Shaloms I have ever experienced. I was also able to experience the angelic voice of Max Leof and his famous “Yid Army”. After praying, singing and “Yid army” we travelled to Dinner which overlooked the western wall. Our dinner included, catchy songs “Yid army”, good food and a great and meaningful story of courage and Zionism by the Rabbi from his time in the second Lebanese war as an IDF soldier in the tanks. After dinner we had a very relaxing walk back to Ramat Rachel which was a great way to end the day. This was a great beginning to a great Shabbat.


Alexei Joukovski



Day 6


The day started with a very generous lie in after which we would have breakfast and get ready to daven. We entered a small shul inside Kibbutz Ramat Rachel joined by Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kaplan, previously of Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue where a lot of the L2L community davens. The service was roughly an hour long with a lot of dancing and a sense of joy around the room. After that we had some free time where some of us played cards and football or caught up on sleep. Once we were ready to get going again we had an activity with the madrichim some of which were very interesting such as their biggest Jewish moment or would you rather, whereas others were games such as One Sam. After that we had a couple of hours of free time and after that went to receive our letters from our parents. We then walked around some of the old kibbutz ruins and after that soothing activity we were ready for a havdalah service filled of a lot of dancing, ambiance and a lot of mosh pitting. We then received our phones again after not having them for over a day. By 19:00 we had left for Ben Yehuda where we bought jewellery and presents for family members. A lot of food was also eaten. Close to midnight once we had packed we had the final banquet where a Madrich/Madricha talked about us, gave us the books we had chosen earlier in the week and then we made a little speech. This ended at roughly three am on Sunday morning with most of us heading straight to sleep.

Max Leof


Day 7

Today was the last day of our wonderful trip. However short there was a huge mix of emotions, we were all extremely unhappy about how we had to go back into reality and back to school tomorrow! On the other hand we all looked back on what a wonderful time we’ve had as a group and as individuals. We started the day of with an early start, but we stuck a toothbrush in our mouths, splashed our faces with water and we were off. Our first activity and one of our favourites was laser tag, it was not any type of laser tag it was very age friendly, realistic and enjoyable there were even tanks that all different countries have. After we hopped onto the coach over to the woods where we had a lovely homemade BBQ with some music and joyful conversations blossoming everywhere. We had to finish our incredible journey at the airport so after our last sugary drink we plopped onto the plane and had an enjoyable and easy trip back to London.


Ben Torns