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The Summer of a Lifetime

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By Naava Plotnick

This past summer I had the most amazing opportunity to go on a six-week long  NCSY trip called Michlelet.

Michlelet is an all girls Jewish learning program in Israel that comprises teens from all over the country.

From the day I landed in Israel until the day I left, I was constantly learning something new and exciting, bonding with other girls, and experiencing the incredible land of Israel.

The highlight of the program was the daily Torah learning and growth-oriented classes. There were tremendous Madrichot (counselors) who dedicated their summer to teach us more about Torah and inspire us to achieve greater spiritual heights.

Each night, a different guest speaker uplifted us with a moving speech. Whether or not I remember the individual words or who said them, I know I will carry the messages and life-lessons with me forever.

I met the most amazing girls and made friendships that will last a lifetime. There were 137 girls on my campus, each one unique and special, but together we made up the Michlelet family and contributed in our own way.

We all learned so much from each other and became fast friends.

Immediately after we were let out of our COVID-19 isolation period we boarded a bus and went straight to the Kotel. Pictures can not do it justice.

I also loved visiting the ancient city of Chevron where we got to talk to some of the people who live there and what it means to them living so close to where our Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried.

Besides visiting the historic Jewish sites, we also went touring all over the country as well. One of the summer’s most inspirational speeches occurred during our rappelling trip.

Before we began, the instructor, in an attempt to boost our confidence, spoke to us and  taught a valuable lesson about fear and bravery. He said “You can’t be brave without first being afraid.” It was incredible that even a rappelling trip became a medium for motivation, inspiration, and growth.

Another focus of the program was chesed; giving back to those less privileged than ourselves. There were multiple chesed opportunities throughout the summer. We painted a nursery, which was also a great bonding experience for us.

We spent time as clowns in a local hospital, where we entertained and talked to the patients and tried to cheer them up.

One of the most special moments was when, as a group, we planned and hosted an entire wedding for a couple who didn’t have any family in Israel.

The pure joy on the bride’s face showed us the true meaning of kindness, especially how it can affect those for whom you are doing it.

This opportunity could not have happened without the generous scholarships provided by Steve and Kathie Markel and Let’s Give RVA and I am eternally grateful.

Furthermore, Arielle Sherman and her amazing NCSY/JSU youth group program led me to Michlelet NCSY, which was the most amazing and impactful experience.

The perfect balance of learning, touring, and chesed in Israel truly created THE. BEST. SUMMER. EVER.

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