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The Michael Scharf Winter 2012 - 2013 IsraeLinks Experience

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1: Thank you for your generous sponsorship of the 2011-2013 Michael Scharf IsraeLinks Winter Experience. Thanks to your kindness, each individual student who experienced IsraeLinks will carry on our sacred link to Torah and Mitzvos. Our sages taught that teaching Torah is akin to parenting that individual. In truth, all of the participants in your IsraeLinks Experience are now part of your family. I am certain that our Rebbe has nachas from the Scharf Family and is showering His holy blessings upon you for robust good health, happiness, joy and prosperity. Am Yisrael Chai! Chazak!!! Rabbi Yossy Gordon Chabad on Campus International Foundation | 1

2: The journey begins... | The journey begins... | 2

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4: Welcome to Israel! | 4

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6: Tzfat | "I have never felt closer to my Judaism and to G-d as when sitting in a cave in Tzfat singing niggunim... " - Saul Brodsky | 6

7: Music | Friends | Learning | Touring | 7

8: The Kotel | "This experience was an awakening. I can't remember the last time I cried because of a feeling of connection. This trip was full of moments like that." -Lani Levi - | 8

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11: Tefillin | "I have already set goals for myself. I am going to work with my Chabad Rabbi to acquire Tefillin." - Eric Auvinen | 11

12: City of David | 12

13: "There is no way to connect to your Jewish roots better than being in Israel and learning at the same time." - Blake Stein | 13

14: Biblical Tunnels | 14

15: "The feeling here on IsraeLinks has completely changed my perspective on what it means to be a Jew. I've learned more about myself than I ever intended..." -Hilary Rappoport | 15

16: Chevron & Kever Rachel | "These are places that every Jew must go to..." -Rachel Chess | 16

17: A Real Taste | of Jewish Life | Visit to a Mikveh | Farbrengen's | Yeshiva Learning | Chai Farm/ Kumtzitz | "By means of in-class and on-site learning I was able to experience Judaism in all its glory." -Andrew Muller | 17

18: Kfar Chabad | Tour of 770, Roeber Jewish Library, the Matzah Bakery & Esrog Orchards | 18

19: "IsraeLinks has revitalized my Jewish Neshama." - Robyn Goldstein | IDF Combat Base | 19

20: Learning Classes | 20

21: "The lecture series connected me to my past with solid knowledge and also prepared me for the present and future." - Rebecca Maas | 21

22: HACHLOTO'S | Resolutions | Jordan Andersen: To keep Shabbos properly. Eric Auvinen: To acquire and put on Teffilin daily. Amira Beeber: Basic Davening (Shema, Modeh Ani), blessings on food, only to eat kosher cheese, stricter with observance of Shabbat and extra Jewish learning. Rachel Bressner: To consciously incorporate Judaism into daily life, keep Shabbat. Bertram Berookhim: To spread the goodness of Judaism, not work on Shabbat. and learn the weekly Torah portion. Saul Brodsky: To learn the Torah portion of the week. Rebecca Calderon: To increase in Jewish learning and to pass on Jewish education at a children's camp next summer. Rachel Chess: To put up a Mezuzah, say Modeh Ani and to light a Shabbat Candle every week. Joshua Cubacub: To put on Teffilin and to develop a deeper relationship with parents (Kibbud Av V'em). Hailey Eisenberg: To start to keep Shabbos every week at Chabad. Chad Fiedler: To wear a Yarmulke every day even when it is uncomfortable to do so. Marissa Friedman: Start to keep Shabbat, increasing weekly in its stringent observance. Robyn Goldstein: To start keeping Shabbat, to learn about Judaism on a regular basis. Zachary Gross: To keep at least one hour properly every Shabbat and go to Chabad weekly for Friday Night. Jeremy Izso: To learn more about Judaism and wear a yarmulke. Kevin Kalika : To put on Teffilin once a week, more learning, apply values learned to be a better person. Daniel Kashani: To learn the prayers and to connect with G-d through prayer. | 22

23: Maytal Kraus: To get involved again with Yachad. Jennifer Lang: To say Blessings and to ONLY date Jewish. Philip Langer: To start to keep Shabbat with his family and wear a yarmulke on campus. Rebecca Levine: To put up a Mezuzah on her door. Livia Maas: To learn more about and start keeping parts of Shabbat. Rebecca Maas: To learn Hebrew and start trying to keep Shabbat. Daniel Matatiaho: To keep Shabbat once a month and learn more Torah. Meir Miskin: To put on Teffilin daily, say Modeh Ani and learn Gemara. Andrew Muller: To spread Judaism and visit the Chabad House in Beijing this semester. Ashley Navi: To keep Shabbat and be careful with Kosher. Hilary Rappaport: To start to keep Shabbat. Lance Ringer: To wear a yarmulke on campus and to keep Shabbat. Joshua Rubin: To acquire and wear Teffilin, say Shema before bed, keep Kosher and Blessings. Elan Sapir: To keep Shabbat, Teffilin daily and wear a yarmulke on campus. Isaac Shapiro: To proudly wear Tzitzis daily. Nathan Shapiro: To learn more and get others involved on campus. Carolyn Snider: To dress Tznius on Friday and Shabbat and to light candles before Shabbat. Chloe Swanek: To actively continue my Jewish learning and keep certain aspects of Shabbat. Blake Stein: To start to wear Teffilin daily. Matthew Weinstein: To start to try and keep Shabbat and educate his family about Shabbat and Chassidus. Moshe Zelkowicz: To wear Teffilin every morning, host Shabbat for AEPI and to say Modeh Ani. | 23

24: Reflections... | "To simply say that I have had an amazing time surrounded by incredible people would be like trying to draw a sunset with just a ballpoint pen on a piece of hotel stationery." - Jordan Anderson "I do not want my children to be at my level of observance when they are my age. I want them to be raised, using my own observance, as a role model to them. I thank this opportunity dearly for helping me to start working toward that vision." - Eric Auvinen "I will be returning to the University of Virginia with a renewed desire to keep Shabbat and Kashrut despite the many challenges I will face. I feel more content with my understanding of Judaism." - Amira Beeber "I never understood why my parents insisted I stay home for Friday night dinners. However, through experiencing two Shabbat weekends with IsraeLinks, this has changed. I now understand Shabbos." - Bertram Berookhim "I hoped to come on this trip and learn something about myself. Not only did I meet my expectations, but I exceeded them - by learning about who I want to be." - Rachel Bressner "The morning classes opened my eyes in ways I thought impossible. I saw the way Judaism handles life cycle events, keeps families and communities together, and provides a guidebook for life. I have never felt closer to my Judaism and to G-d as when sitting in a cave in Tzfat singing nigunim." - Saul Brodsky "This has truly been a life changing experience. I definitely enjoyed the sightseeing and touring, but the educational aspect was more significant for me and has made a lasting impact. Thank you for opening my eyes to Judaism and guiding me along a path of growth and doing Mitzvot." - Rebecca Calderon | 24

25: "There isn't anything else I could have thought of going to this winter break, other than going to Israel on this program. And no other trip would have been able to change my entire attitude other than Israelinks." - Rachel Chess "The best part of this trip for me was the classes. Rabbi Zalman and Yehudis were great teachers, always happy to answer all the questions I had. The subjects we addressed were all practical and will be useful to apply in “real life”, to the point that I would have been happy with more studying and less touring!" - Josh Cubacub "I want to thank you so much for believing and investing in me. This trip has changed my identity as a Jew. Not only do I understand the importance of continuing the beautiful chain of Judaism but I learned how lucky I am to be Jewish." - Hailey Eisenberg "Now that the trip is coming to a close, I can look back at all the experiences and classes we had, I would definitely say this program was a perfect next step for me based on where I am in my path in Judaism." - Chad Fiedler "This trip has been very empowering. I have been convinced that if I want to do something there is nothing stopping me. It has helped me grow in my Judaism and this coming semester I plan on keeping Shabbat." - Marissa Friedman "This trip not only saved my Jewish identity, it inspired me to give Judaism a priority in my life. I feel confident about my Jewish identity and am no longer embarrassed about wanting to learn more." - Robyn Goldstein "This trip has been such a blessing for me. I came on this trip to reconnect to my Yiddishkeit and I am pleased to say it has done just that. The trip has been nothing short of incredible." - Zachary Gross "I have really realized the importance of a Jewish home for my future kids and myself as well. I have also found great comfort in knowing that it is OK to go through different phases with Judaism, that no one is perfect all the time, and that everything you do, no matter how small, can bring G-dliness/holiness into this world and improve it." - Jeremy Izso | 25

26: "When returning to campus I will most definitely be a more empowered and self-aware Jew, practicing more Mitzvot then before. Thank you IsraeLinks for the eye opener!" - Kevin Kalika "Knowing that excitement, joy and life can be injected in to my spiritual work is the most important step in my path to a true connection with the Creator. It inspires me that Chabad sees this as an important truth too." - Daniel Kashani "Thank you for offering this program to Chabad affiliated college students. The trip was exactly what I needed at this point on my life." - Maytal Kraus "This was my first religious program in Israel. I have enjoyed this immensely and feel I have grown spiritually. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful program." - Jen Lang "I have finally identified and connected with Judaism. I am finally on a long journey to fulfilling a meaningful and invigorating life. I will return to campus with a plan to pray, keep Shabbat and treat every passing moment as a valuable one with a limitless potential. " - Philip Langer "I want to wake up every morning and know that I live for more than just myself. I want to talk to G-d and be aware of the food I eat and the Mitzvot I can do, because it makes my life feel something that is so satisfying." - Lani Levi "The Rabbi's and Rebbetzin's have been amazing; encouraging us every step of the way to try to elevate ourselves, teaching us the meaning behind everything and never once trying to force anything on us." - Becca Levine "On IsraeLinks I found myself in a proud Jewish community. I realized that I could never love nor ever fully embody my Judaism without an authentic all encompassing love." - Livia Mass "The fantastic lectures, diverse places visited and supportive group environment taught me a lot about my heritage. IsraeLinks provided me both with the tools and network to strengthen Jewish life in my community." - Rebecca Maas | 26

27: "This trip exemplified Jewish education. The staff Rabbi and Rebbetzin taught relevant topics full of beauty, importance and strength. Staying in Tzfat and Jerusalem has been an enlightening experience and the countless farbrengens have allowed all of us to delve into ourselves, to learn and grow." - Daniel Matatiaho "On IsraeLinks I learned that I have such a wonderful Jewish soul. Hashem loves me and is beside me even at my darkest hour. My favorite quote that I learned and that resonated with me was, “Don’t tell me how big your problems are, tell your problems how big your G-d is.” - Meir Miskin "As a Jew who came on this trip wavering in faith and unsure of my position moving forward, these experiences have solidified my position as a member of the Jewish People, no matter what future challenges arise." - Andrew Muller "This program has given me clarity on the path of life. I hope I will continue learning and never stop! I know that when I grow up and start my own family, the lessons I learned on IsraeLinks will definitely influence my future." - Ashley Navi "I have learned more about myself than I ever intended. I am so grateful to IsraeLinks for taking me on this journey and introducing me to people I know will be lifelong friends." - Hilary Rappoport "This trip has shown me why being Jewish is so important and how I can help Jewish life on campus. I now have the confidence to be proud of whom I am by wearing a Kippah on campus. This experience has changed my life!!!" - Lance Ringer "I certainly feel connected at a higher level to Jews as a whole and in particular to Jews my age. I have never connected very deeply with people through Judaism as I have with the people on this trip. Its leaders have been so full of Judaism and have strong, open hearts and minds making learning in and out of class easy and hugely exciting." - Joshua Rubin "Both Rabbi Zalman and Yehudis brought out and nurtured a deep spark within me, buried and yearning for release. They have given me not only tools and means of Judaism, but more importantly the courage to dive deeply and delve within, to find and nurture my soul." - Elan Sapir | 27

28: "I have gained the most important and refreshing lesson since I was a boy. I got reminded what it really means to be a Jew and not to think it isn't anything special. Being a Jew is something special. G-d made me a Jew. This is the essence of what I have learned in the last two and a half weeks." - Isaac Schapiro "IsraeLinks has had such a positive impact on my life and has been instrumental in my development and continued growth and practice of my Jewish beliefs. I was able to explore new areas of Israel that I had never had the opportunity to explore. Even greater, these sites had such great significances and really reinforced what it meant to be a proud, caring Jew." - Nathan Shapiro "During each class we had discussions that brought up different opinions and traditions. These classes helped me to reflect on what I had been doing and in the end bring me to better understandings of my choices." - Cari Snider "There is no better way to connect to your Jewish roots than being in Israel and learning at the same time. The experience has been greater than words can describe and I have grown incredibly from it. I can walk away from this trip as an educated Jew and a proud Jew." - Blake Stein "As a Jew, I count each and every day as a blessing. I have learned the importance of the survival of the Jewish people in the melting pot that we live in today. I am forever grateful for being given this opportunity to learn and grow and come on this trip with IsraeLinks." - Chloe Swanek "I have learned so much, not only about Israel and my Judaism, but about myself as well. Because of this trip, I look forward to going home and continuing with my Rabbi and hopefully even inspire my family to become more involved with the Jewish community. For that I am thankful." - Matthew Weinstein "I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to come on this trip. It has been a life changing experience. The different parts of the trip have helped me get deeper into Judaism and to get closer to my religion. Visiting Tzfat, going in the Mikvah for the first time, spending Shabbos in Jerusalem were all highlights." - Moshe Zelcowicz | 28

29: Jordan Andersen, Metropolitan State College Denver Eric Auvinen, University of Southern California Amira Beeber, University of Virginia Bertram Berookhim, Boston University Rachel Bressner, University at Albany Saul Brodsky, University of Virginia Rebecca Calderon, Colorado State University Rachel Chess, Binghamton University Joshua Cubacub, University of Illinois Hailey Eisenberg, University of Central Florida Chad Fiedler, Drexel University Marissa Friedman, University of Virginia Robyn Goldstein, Colorado State University Zachary Gross, Binghamton University Jeremy Izso, Carleton University Kevin Kalika, University of Illinois Daniel Kashani, Binghamton University Maytal Kraus, Queens College Jennifer Lang, University of Illinois | Philip Langer, Rutgers College Lani Levi, Binghamton University Rebecca Levine, University of Central Florida Livia Maas, University of California Berkley Rebecca Maas, University of California Santa Cruz Daniel Matatiaho, University of Georgia Meir Miskin, Temple University Andrew Muller, University of Waterloo Ashley Navi, Queens College Hilary Rappaport, Boston University Lance Ringer, Rutgers College Joshua Rubin, Franklin & Marshall College Elan Sapir, Indiana University Isaac Shapiro, SUNY Oswego Nathan Shapiro, Binghamton University Carolyn Snider, Binghamton University Blake Stein, Towson University Chloe Swanek, University of Ottawa Matthew Weinstein, SUNY New Paltz Moshe Zelkowicz. Virginia Tech | STAFF Rabbi Yossi & Chaya Witkes - Directors Rabbi Zalman & Yehudis Bluming - Trip Leaders & Educators Rabbi Mendy & Devora Leah Gniwisch - Logistics & Support | Trip Participants | 29

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