Our last day started out with a delicious Israeli breakfast. We dropped our bags off at the hotel and headed to Ramle for some activities at the Ethiopian National Project (ENP) Center.
At the center, we heard from Rebecca Caspi, the senior vice president for global operations of The Jewish Federations of North America, as well as the director general of JFNA’s Israel office. She gave an inspiring talk about the impact that we can make as young leaders and her career in the Jewish world.
The mic was then passed to Grace Rodnitzki, a Philadelphia area native who made Aliyah in the 1990’s and who now works as the Director of the ENP Space program (Ethiopian National Projects’s School Performance and Community Empowerment). Grace told the group about the amazing work being done for the Ethiopian-Israeli youth community in Ramle and how our dollars impact the work that they do. We were then broken up into groups and sent into a variety of rooms where the students from ENP hosted a variety of traditional Ethiopian and other cultural games. These included locally adapted versions of classical children’s games which helped the kids to practice their English, one of the biggest challenges they face for future success. As the groups migrated to the different tables, we met the various students and learned about their lives.
The final speaker that morning was Elizabet Legesse, the Regional Supervisor of the Ethiopian National Project. She told the group about her heart breaking and miraculous story of making Aliyah to Israel at just 13 years old and triumphing over the most difficult obstacles including having her mother jailed as a prisoner of Zion in Ethiopia. Her message of strength and her dedication to the work she does inspired everyone in the room.
We then got together as a group to share our thoughts on our trip experience. There were some wonderful moments shared between the group. Everyone expressed how they had an amazing and positive experience and were very motivated by the trip. It was great to reflect together with our new friends and we know that this isn’t the end, but only the start. Israel 360 has truly been an amazing experience for all of us.
This was followed by a lovely lunch with a variety of sandwiches including the local delicacies including the traditional Samich Sandwich.
We then headed back to Tel Aviv to enjoy our final hours in Israel. Most of us went back to the Carmel Market and Shabaz Street to buy souvenirs for ourselves, families and friends to commemorate the experience in Israel and share with loved ones keepsakes (including Philadelphia Eagles gear in Hebrew) and Judaica that will hopefully last a lifetime and be passed down through generations.