Last Shabbos!

Dear parents,

We started out Shabbat like we usually do, getting dressed, taking hundreds of Shabbat pictures, and making memories with friends.
We later left the Prima Kings hotel and drove to the Kotel. It was there that we davened Mincha, Kabbalat Shabbat, and Maariv. We sang Shabbat songs at the Kotel joining hands with Jews of all diversities: religious, secular, ashkenaz, sefard, American, and many others. Not everywhere do Jews from around the world unite for a common purpose: complete service of God and singing songs rejoicing and bringing in the Shabbos queen. Nothing mattered except for being together and sharing the moment and the happiness. We then continued the simcha by going to Aish HaTorah for Kiddush. Shabbat Zmirot filled the room along with cherished weekly “shabbos brachas” from Rabbi Zians. One by one boys and girls alike go up to Rabbi Zians and wait for a bracha that reflects our strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. To use our strengths to make a difference in this world and utilize true and good leadership qualities. After dinner, we benched together and walked downstairs for an Oneg.
It was there that JOLT, along with TJJ, sang together celebrating being Jewish. The Zmirot were later followed by a speech by world renowned speaker Mr. Charlie Harari. He talked about always pushing yourself and that being great and being a leader is about always pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Charlie conveyed that you’re comfortable you’re not growing as a person. Shevah Yipol Tzadik Vekam. It’s the fact that the tzadik gets up after having fallen so many times is what makes him righteous. He then urged us to take one thing from this trip and to put all of our inspiration from these past weeks into that one action, whatever it may be. After the speech we said our goodbyes and walked back to the hotel.
The following day we walked to the Great Synagogue where we davened shacharit and musaf. Many of the tefillot there were accompanied by choir— especially the kedusha. 😉
We later had kiddush and Shabbat lunch at the hotel where Shimmie Hadar spoke to us. She stressed the importance of “a day without making someone smile is a day wasted,” and the importance of watching out for our fellow peers and brethren.
This was followed by shabbat menucha in the holy city of Jerusalem, where there were optional shiurum, chavruta learning, and walking tours. After a restful menucha, we met up for shalish sudas where we enjoyed a delicious meal, followed by my favorite part: ebbing. We all sat in a circle holding each other and singing songs of Shabbat as Shabbat came to a close.

Over this Shabbat, we were given the opportunity to reflect on all that we’ve learned this summer: gaining a clear understanding of where we have come from, recognizing the blessings we have, appreciating the opportunities for learning with and from the JSummer participants. We have been able to travel and see our beloved home land and recognize the sacrifices that have been made for us to be able to be here. We have learned to utilize every moment and challenge ourselves to grow. As we are winding down, I feel we have begun to internalize the life lessons that we have gleaned throughout our travels and hope to apply them to our everyday lives! One thing is certain, when the program ends…. that’s when JOLT begins!

With love,
Alisa Leeds