(Composed by ILS participants) Last Monday, 33 teens arrived at Camp Wise and were greeted by our amazing staff Ryan, Shane, Brielle, and Shayna. Camp is great. It is the Home of Happiness, after all… but we were eager to get to Israel. So after an airport debacle, a miracle flight reinstatement, and not one, but two flights, ILS 2022 has finally arrived in Jerusalem.
There have been some bumps in the road, but thanks to our amazing Israeli staff, Itzik and Shahar, Israel already feels like home. We started day one in Jerusalem in Hezekiah’s Tunnels. Even though we were in the dark, it was so fun to soak up the history. Then we made our way to the Kotel, otherwise known as the Western Wall. We had a long, but air conditioned tour of the Kotel Tunnels before heading to Hass Promenade, an overlook of Jerusalem. Itzik told us all about different parts of Jerusalem, and we even saw a proposal!
Everybody cleaned up nice for our first Shabbat in Israel. We had a service overlooking the Jerusalem sunset, and then ate dinner together. We met other travelers from the UK and spent some quality time getting to know our new English friends on the patio. On Saturday we spent a few hours at a park near the hostel we are staying at. We all enjoyed the entertainment of the three playgrounds in the area, and we brought out our inner child. We spent some time getting to know our staff better before dinner. Then, we had a our first Havdalah together. Although it was short, we had a blast singing songs, drinking grape juice, and hearing the candle sizzle. We even had some families watch us celebrate the end of shabbat. After Havdalah, we loaded onto the bus and headed out to Ben Yehuda Street to shop and explore.
There, we experienced the liveliness of Jerusalem and even saw some fellow Americans. One thing to take from this experience is that we need to learn how to bargain.
The first few days together have been great, and we couldn’t be more excited for the rest of our trip. Shalom from ILS!