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Sinai Temple - 10400 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA. 90024 Phone (310) 474-1518 Fax (310) 474-6801

10400 Wilshire Blvd.   Los Angeles, CA. 90024   Phone (310) 474-1518   Fax (310) 474-6801




The David and Angella Nazarian Youth Leadership Program is an elite nine month program for ten 9th grade Sinai Temple students. Through sessions (two hours per session including interactive team building, education seminars, and stimulating peer and mentor/mentee conversations) and a winter break trip leadership mission to Israel, these students will become instilled with values of Judaism and leadership, develop a love for the land and people of both Israel and Los Angeles, build a connection to Sinai Temple, and learn about other Jewish organizations where they can further develop their Jewish leadership training after the completion of the program. Below you will find our daily updates about our Israel Leadership Mission 2010:
Day One - Noa Kattler Kupetz Day Two - Zachary Diamond Day Three - Nicole West
Day Four - Russell & Adam Day Five - Adam & Russel Day Six - Adi & Jacob
Day Seven - Arielle Yael Day Eight - Noa Yadidi Day Nine - Ellie Dubin
dateDate:  December 29, 2010 authorAuthor:  Ellie Dubin
Subject: Day Nine

Hey everyone! It's Ellie here, reporting from Ben Gurion Airport. Sadly, our amazing trip full of countless memories and experiences has almost come to an end. Our final day in Jerusalem began bright and early. At 7:15 we were on our way to an Ethiopian Absorption Center in Mevasseret Tzion, an area near Jerusalem. The philosophy of this center is to make the transition into modern Israel life an easier task for Ethiopians. Many Ethiopians who make Alliyah come from areas with very primitive lifestyles. Many of them never went to school so they face many challenges in their daily life. These life changing absorption centers offer many programs to help adapt into today's Israeli world. One such program is Ulpan, an intense Hebrew class. The Ethiopians also learn about current events and Judaism. The next part of the tour allowed us to visit the kindergarten within the center, full of adorable children. After a quick snack break, we arrived at the beautiful park "Rose Garden" located next to the Knesset. There we did T'fillot. It was the day that I got to lead the service. I brought up a question which had to do with leadership qualities that we could use to help execute our projects at home. Each fellow has their own project that they will be working on throughout the year and years to come. I also led "warm fuzzes," which are when we give compliments and express new things that we learned about each other. Then, we were on our way to the Knesset. There we had an amazing V.I.P. tour. Inside the Knesset there is a room called Chagall Hall, used for receptions. On the wall lay three outstanding paintings that Chagall painted. One represents the future, one represents the past, and one represents the present. Here comes the really amazing part. We got to sit in at a live council meeting and saw the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Can you believe it?? Anyway, after another quick stop for lunch, we arrived at the President's house. There we had tour, which was also really interesting. As night time approached, we went to the Kotel, for one last time. We also were able to shop in Mamilla Mall. As the day came to an end, we all had dinner together right outside of the old city. Then we gathered our belongings and made our way to the airport, where I am writing to you right now. Although our fantastic journey is almost over, we all had such an amazing time and will never forget what we learned. Thank you so much for reading our blogs. If you have a family member, friend, or someone you know that is going to be entering the 9th grade, convince them to apply for this program, because they will experience the best winter break they will ever have.


dateDate:  December 28, 2010 authorAuthor:  Noa Yadidi
Subject: Day Eight

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Today's journey began with services, in which we talked about our connections with prayers and in what situation we feel the most connected to God. We also reflected on certain leaders we've learned about in the past week, what about them inspired us and why the succeeded in their respective fields. After a delicious breakfast, we boarded the bus and drove to Ne'ot Kedumim for ODT (outdoor training) exercises. We met our instructor, Gili, who put our leadership skills to the test. Our first "warm-up" exercise consisted of us all having one finger under a hula hoop trying to lower it without letting it drop to the ground. The idea of communication with each other in order to succeed was quickly reinforced. However, in our second activity, we showed why we are the Nazarian fellows. This exercise was a little bit more complicated, in that there were four blindfolded fellows holding on to ropes in four corners that connected to a bucket. Depending on how tight the fellow pulled the rope the bucket would move in a certain way. For each blindfolded fellow, another fellow was their "eyes" and was able to see and speak to them, giving them instructions on what to do. One fellow was the "boss" of the whole operation, but was a mute. The object of the game was to move the bucket into a cistern, grab some "water", pull it out and place it into a certain location. Needless to say, we were very successful and worked together extremely well. Ten days of leadership training has definitely shaped us fellows up! Towards the end of our ODT, we herd sheep and goats, made ground "zatar" (a Middle-Easter spice), and made candles out of clay mud, olive oil and cotton wicks. We then went and enjoyed a delicious lunch at a local mall in Modiin. We quickly boarded the bus once again and drove to Latrun, a museum dedicated to the evolution of tanks in the IDF. At the museum, we learned about the different kinds of tanks that have been used in the IDF. Our guide, Eitan, explained to us in detail the Mercava 4, the latest Israeli tank model. We were then able to climb on top of it! At the museum, we also learned the basics of tanks, what they are used for and the jobs of the people inside the tank. We saw a short video of the tank in action and payed our respects to the fallen soldiers on their wall of names. Next, we boarded the bus once again and went to Ammunition Hill. Ammunition Hill was the site of one of the battles in the Six Day War. It is now a museum dedicated to the Six Day War: the historical significance, the fallen soldiers and the recapturing of Jerusalem for Israel and the Jews. We watched a short movie about the events of the Six Day War in 1967 and our understanding was heightened by a three dimensional diorama of Jerusalem. As the movie progressed and explained the events of the war and its locations, lights on the diorama gave us a visual of where the battles took place, their proximity and whether Israel or Jordan controlled it. Needless to say, it was very unique and interesting. Later on, we walked through the museum with our guide, Rafi. The museum mostly consisted on walking through the infamous Western Trench on Ammunition Hill. We recreated the steps of the battle, and the miraculous victory of the outnumbered IDF soldiers. We also learned about special "heroes" in the war. For example, we learned about Eitan Nave, a soldier who took the task of leaving the trenches and fighting from above, in order to protect his companions in the trenches. He did not survive, but was later given the greatest medal of honor in the IDF. Out of all the fallen Jordanian soldiers, Nave was responsible for about 25%. We also learned about Yigal Arad, a medic who saved the lives of about 30 IDF soldiers, and was given the second highest medal of honor in the IDF (he later died in the Yom Kippur War). After some free time, we were fortunate enough to visit the tent of the Shalit Family. For those of you who are not familiar with Gilad Shalit and his family, Gilad is a soldier who was abducted by Hamas in June 2006. The last time he was seen was in a small video clip from a Hamas prison in June 2009. Now, his family sits in a tent outside of Prime Minister Netanyahu's house for six months of the year, hosting visitors from all around the world that come to pay their respects. Before we left for Israel, we wanted to do something to help Gilad and his family. All the fellows gathered letters from our Los Angeles community to give to the Shalit family. After collecting over 100 letters, we were able to hand-deliver the book of letters to Gilad's mother, Aviva Shalit. We then embarked on our last night on the town before returning to Los Angeles. Once again we were back on Ben-Yehuda for some last minute shopping and dinner. Only making the day more special, it was one of the fellows, Arielle Mokhtarzadeh's birthday! The night officially ended with a surprise party for her, complete with Israeli chocolate and delicious cake! We are looking forward to returning to Los Angeles soon and sharing all of our experiences with you!
-- Noa Yadidi


dateDate:  December 27, 2010 authorAuthor:  Arielle Yael
Subject: Day Seven

There is nothing like a trip to Israel to remind you to notice the little beauties of life. Miracles occur all around the world every day. But sometimes we are too caught up in the big picture to notice the hundred year old tree in the background, or the old man with the unbelievable story to tell.
This morning we woke up huddled together in the corner of a Bedouin tent. While you might have expected us to complain about the past night, each of us awoke with a smile on our faces. I don't think any of us realized the significance of the night we had all just spent together. Earlier yesterday we learned that on Ben Gurion's first night in Israel, he slept under the stars, just as we did! Not only were we learning to be strong, influential leaders, we were following in the footsteps of arguably one of the greatest leaders of all the history of Israel. We ended our Bedouin experience with a delicious Israeli breakfast complimented by the wondrous, one of a kind, Bedouin tea. We unanimously agreed that the tea was the greatest tea any of us had ever had.

After breakfast we boarded the bus and drove to "Nachal Karkash," a hiking trail in the Negev. We hiked down the treacherous wadis (dry river beds) toward "Nachal Sin". Along the trail we had a very interesting prayer service and discussed the historical significance of our trek. JJ, our Farsi speaking tour guide, along with his handy dandy tour book, the Tanakh, explained to us that the valley we were traveling through was actually the valley to which Moses sent the twelve spies through to scout out Eretz Canaan and it's people. While ten of those scouts gave negative reports of the land, all ten of our fellows had nothing but smiles on their faces.

Once again we boarded the bus, but our next destination was unlike I'd ever seen before. The sign read "Kfar Ideal", but that area was anything but an ideal place to live. With a total of three built homes and a couple of community rooms, the "Ideal Village" was not your typical village. It was a village in the process of being built by Ayalim in the region of Ashalim. Ayalim is an association that was started by Matan Dahan, a young Israeli, who couldn't decide what to do after his time in the Israeli army. He dreamed of reestablishing the early ideals of the Israeli pioneers. Every student who participates in this organization is required to complete 300 volunteer hours in their village. In exchange for this service, the student's tuition is paid for by Ayalim. The ages of these students range from twenty-two to thirty years old. Today, Ayalim is a well established organization throughout Israel, and hosts over five hundred students all over the country. As part of our leadership training we supported Ayalim by helping the volunteers build mud bricks, taking nails out of planks of wood, carrying wood from one end of the village to another, and getting to know some of the volunteers. Along with the university aged students, other volunteers include high schoolers in their gap year and young adults volunteering before their enrollment in the IDF. After the physical labor, we were treated to a wonderful lunch where we spoke to two Ayalim volunteers. Along with the wonderful mitzvah of building a home, we learned about the potential of man. This unbelievable project all began with one man and his dream. Just as the motto of the village says, "The sky is the limit!"

After that influential experience we endured a two hour drive back to our humble abode in Jerusalem, the Prima Kings Hotel. We rested for an hour or two and got ready for a night on the town. We hopped in to taxis and drove to a busy street in Jerusalem. We grabbed our falafel and shawarma sandwiches and ran over to a local movie theatre to meet the "Little Fockers." Along with the Hebrew subtitles, we were also exposed to another Israeli "tree d" that none of us experienced before: the movie included a ten minute intermission! We are now back in the hotel sitting the the hallway of the sixth floor munching on our "Cini Minis."

We are having an amazing time and we can't wait to come back to the states and share all of our experiences with you.

Today was all about looking beyond the horizon, to have a dream and pursue it.
So I guess my "words of wisdom" for tonight would be to appreciate the little moments in life. This trip has enabled me to experience things and meet new people who I would never have had the fortune to have met otherwise. As I sit here in the hallway with my new friends, I am reminded of the importance of Israel, the importance of unity.

"HaShamayim hem ha'gvool"
And with this group of people, it truly is.
-Arielle Yael


dateDate:  December 26, 2010 authorAuthor:  Adi Harris, Jacob Pardo
Subject: Day Six

We began the day with a reflective tefilot service about our experiences over the past Shabbat. We talked about how it felt in the two different services we attended along with the similarities between those services and ours at home. Also, on the theme of leaving Jerusalem, we posed a question on how our prayer experience is different in the holy city.

After a filling breakfast, we left Jerusalem and headed to the desert home of David Ben-Gurion in the kibbutz of Sde Boqer, which translates literally to "Field of Cowboys." With an emphasis on leadership, we talked about the story of Ben-Gurion before taking a tour of his surprisingly modest home. It was interesting to see the overwhelming presence of leadership in the house, whether it was portraits of Ghandi and Abraham Lincoln or a statue of Moses. As we stepped into his library, it was astonishing to see over five thousand books in many different languages on his shelves. We then moved on to the Ben-Gurion Institute, the leading educational facility in the Negev. We saw a film about the various leadership decisions Ben-Gurion made as prime minister of Israel. We then engaged in an interesting discussion about what makes a leader before we concluded by visiting David Ben-Gurion's grave, which overlooked a breathtaking view of the Negev.

After a long bus ride, we arrived at the oasis of the "Bedouin Experience," where we hopped aboard camels that took us on an amazing and fun trip around a bit of the surrounding desert. After the enjoyable ride, we met a Bedouin who told about his people and their customs and gave us some of the best tea in the world. We were showed to our gigantic tent and had a bit of an impromptu talent show which everyone greatly enjoyed. We then passed time by playing some difficult mind games and card tricks that challenged our problem solving and pattern finding skills. Next, we enjoyed a traditional Bedouin feast sitting on mats with our food placed on short tables in front of us. The meal was capped with even more delicious tea before we went back to our tent with full stomachs. We spent the rest of the night talking and sharing stories before going to bed. It was a calm and quiet way to end an exciting day.
-Jacob and Adi


dateDate:  December 25, 2010 authorAuthor:  Adam Yankelevits, Russell Monkarsh
Subject: Day Five

The Nazarian fellows got to sleep in on Shabbas morning, 8:00! We came down for a breakfast and immediately went to the services of choice afterwards. Mostly everyone went to The Great Synagogue, while Scott and Zach went to a synagogue in Yamin Moshe. Everyone had a very different experience at the orthodox services. We headed back over to the hotel where we had free time and everyone relaxed in their hotel rooms. We ate lunch at the hotel buffet, and then we were given more free time, which most of was spent at a near by park. We walked to the windmill at Yamin Moshe where we did a Havdala services looking at the walls of the old city. There, we exchanged gifts for a "Mystery Maccabee" gift exchange that was planned a few days before. It was very fun and there were church bells ringing the whole time in honor of Christmas. We walked to Ben Yehuda Street afterwards, where we ate dinner and shopped. Scott introduced us to a store called The Art of Thinking, which is a challenging store full of wooden puzzles and games that require a great deal of thinking. Even though they were very tough and left most of us mind-boggled, it was really fun. After some time at Ben Yehuda, we all went back to our hotel. Many of the Nazarian fellows tried to stay up to watch the Laker vs. Heat game, but each fellow fell asleep before the game even started. Scott and Hannah managed to stay up for part of the game but even though Shabbat was very relaxing, everyone needed sleep.


dateDate:  December 24, 2010 authorAuthor:  Russell Monkarsh, Adam Yankelevits
Subject: Day Four

We started the day with t'filot talking about memories. We talked about how bad memories can be made into stronger futures and we also talked about who we were named after and how it affects each of our personalities. We headed over to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. We were greeted by a tour guide who led us through the museum and children's memorial. Both were very moving and emotional on many levels. Our tour guide Moshe explained to us how it is our role to keep the memories of the Holocaust alive. The main part of the museum was underground and shaped like a triangle that symbolized harsh times and then the road to freedom as the triangle opened wider and you are greeted by an amazing view of Israel. The children's memorial is a dark room with what looks like an infinite amount of candles, but it is really just 5 candles and a lot or mirrors. After Yad Vashem, we traveled to a soup kitchen where we were assigned different jobs in the kitchen for preparing food for people below the poverty level in Israel. Our jobs included peeling vegetable like carrots and potatoes, and others cut the vegetables. Some kids also put together all the food onto plates for the less fortunate people to eat. We learned that more than 1/3 of children in Israel are living below the poverty line. From there we walked to Machane Yehuda, a shuk that was very busy and lively for the Shabbat rush. It was very alive; people were yelling, pushing, buying, selling, and trying to get ready for Shabbat as quickly as possible. We were given free time to walk around, eat lunch and buy souvenirs. After the shuk we headed back to the hotel to change and get ready for Shabbat. For services we headed toward the old city and stopped at a park outside the walls. After our services we headed to the Kotel. It was very cool seeing the Kotel packed with Jewish people praying on Shabbat. When we first got there, we saw hundreds of people at the wall, all the heads were bobbing up and down and bodies were swaying back and forth. Both the girls and boys squeezed their way throughout the crowd to have private prayer time at the Wall. We then walked back to the the Nativ base where we ate Shabbat dinner. Two kids part of the Nativ program joined our table and we talked and had a great meal. Everyone was very tired after the meal so we walked across the street to our hotel and played charades in the lobby while eating some freshly baked rugalah and cinnamon rolls that the Shabbat committee bought earlier at the shuk. We all said our laila tovs and went to sleep.


dateDate:  December 23, 2010 authorAuthor:  Nicole West
Subject: Day Three

Today, the Nazarian fellows traveled from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem! On our way to the holy city, we made a short stop at Mount Scopus, where we enjoyed the beautiful view of Jerusalem. It was truly amazing to see the city from a completely different perspective. Our second stop was at the entrance to the city of David, where we reviewed the history of the Jewish people in the land of Israel. Our tour guide, JJ, used references from the Tanach, or as he called it, the "best tour book", while we talked about the surrounding historical landmarks. After that, we ventured through the water tunnels under the city of David. We made a stop for lunch, and headed for Mount Herzel. We started at the Herzel Museum, where learned about the admirable life of Theodore Herzel. After hearing his life story, we began to discuss the difference between a leader and a hero. We also got to take a closer look at how the father of Zionism took a small idea, and in only nine years, changed the world and the future. His courage and selflessness has played a major role in present day Judaism. Next, we visited the grave of Hannah Senesh, a young woman from Budapest, who decided to make Aliyah and join the British army as a paratrooper, in order to do anything she could to fight against the Germans. She was taken captive, where she wrote the famous song "Eli, Eli" as she stood behind bars. We came to the conclusion that Hannah is both a hero and a leader in Jewish history, and the fellows were all inspired by her courage to stand up for what she believed in. The last grave that we visited was the grave of Michael Levine. He was an ordinary Jewish boy from the United States that always dreamed of making Aliyah and becoming a soldier in the Israeli army. He eventually moved and a joined the army, but not too long after that, he was killed (bombing of his safe house). His happiness was said to have brightened peoples' days, and he will be remembered forever. After finishing at Mount Herzel, we went to a time elevator, which was a simulator at took us through history of Jerusalem. Then we took our tour of the tunnels under the Kotel, and had special time at the wall. We are all looking forward to a restful and meaningful Shabbat together!
Nicole West


dateDate:  December 22, 2010 authorAuthor:  Zachary Diamond
Subject: Day Two

Today was a "hands on" experience of the Agricultural part of Israel. After waking up at 6:15 we had Morning Prayer and breakfast. By 8:00, we were on the bus going to Rehovot. We went to a farm where we were greeted by members of Leket. Leket is an organization that harvests the food that farmers leave to rot and distributes the food to families in need. We spent about an hour picking clementines on the farm. The two great parts were that every clementine we picked would be with a family in need within 24 hours. Also, fresh clementines are extremely tasty. In our hour of work, we picked 400 kilos of clementines, which is enough clementines to supply for 200 families for a week. After Leket, we went to a Kibbutz named Givat Haim Ihud. First, we did volunteer work for the Kibbutz. After, we ate lunch in the dining hall. Then we had a fantastic tour of the Kibbutz by a member of the Kibbutz named Emil. He talked about the history of the kibbutz and about two major events that defined the Kibbutz movement in Israel. We also were accompanied by Emil's son Shaul. With them, we went to the dairy farm of the Kibbutz, the old and new houses, and the petting zoo of the kibbutz. The petting zoo's purpose is to allow the kids of the Kibbutz to interact with animals to train them for jobs they might do in the future. There were different types of goats, ducks, and peacocks. We ended the day with a walk through Tel Aviv and dinner. From yesterday's study of Israel technology and future, it was a great contrast to go into the past and agricultural side of Israel.

dateDate:  December 21, 2010 authorAuthor:  Noa Kattler Kupetz
Subject: Day One

Looking back on today's activities, I'm amazed that we've only been here for only one full day! After waking up (some sadly earlier than others due to jet lag), we walked a block to the beach and enjoyed prayers on the sand. A delicious Israeli breakfast awaited us at the hotel, and then our adventure began. We met up with five Israeli teens that are a part of Startupseed, an organization that takes the most technologically savvy Israeli teens and provides them with the resources to put their ideas in action. The five seeds joined us as we visited three inspirational organizations, all in relation to the technology market in Israel

We first went to IDC, a university near tel aviv that specializes in communications; some may call it the MIT in israel. At IDC, they teach their students about media, such as radio broadcasting, television production, movie filming and editing. They also teach advertising and technology development. After touring their radio broadcasting studios and television production rooms, we then watched a presentation on all of the wonderful ideas and inventions that are coming out of the university. The inventions were really inspirational, and left me excited and eager to take part in the future of technology.

We then enjoyed a great Israeli lunch with the startupseeds, and walked to the headquarters of Incredimail, a popular email service that prides itself on personalizing and adding fun to the email experience. It was another cool glimpse into the technology world thats happening in Israel. Next we drove to The headquarters of Better Place, a company that has created a plan for electric cars to be easily accesible and usable, in order to eliminate gas usage in car transportation. This was my favorite part of the day; Better Place has a great MessagePad and a fantastic game plan. We were able to ride in electric cars and watch a cars battery be charged and replaced, which really made the organizations mission feel possible. It was exciting to learn about something that I really hope and feel will work out and leave a tremendous positive impact on our world.

Now we are on our way to Yaffo, where we will have Free time and some of us will meet up with family. Later tonight we will experience the play Nalaga'at, which means please touch. All members of the cast are blind or deaf, and we've been told it's absolutely sensational. Today is fantastic, so far Israel is treating us Nazarian fellows amazingly! - Noa Kattler Kupetz



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