Cohort 12

The 12th cohort of travelers headed to Israel this year on March 11. Twelve JCCSF staff members, two from the Peninsula JCC and two from Palo Alto JCC comprise the group, along with leader Jhos Singer.

The annual seminar is funded by a generous grant from the Sanford and Linda Gallanter Foundation, and allows JCCSF staffers an unprecedented opportunity to experience the beauty and complexity of Israel first-hand. Check in daily to follow along with this cohort's journey.

Yitzhak Rabin Center

Day 12: March 23, 2018

Hether Ludwick

Finally my blog day is here. It feels like I've lived a "Wrinkle in Time" since cohort 12 landed in Tel Aviv on March 12th. And now cohort is back in Tel Aviv wrapping up our journey. The day begins with breakfast at the Isrotel Hotel...[Read More]

Sandaled feet standing inside a circle: To Hear, To See, To Feel

Day 11: March 22, 2018

Sedey Gebreyes
To Hear, To See, and To Feel

From Rachel Korazim's gripping storytelling to the LGBTQ Center in Tel Aviv, to the tour of Jaffa, to dining in the dark at the blackout restaurant, today was a good reminder of the depth and the multiplicity of people's experiences...[Read More]

The Mediterranean Sea

Day 10: March 21, 2018

Chris DiPietro

We're checking out of the hotel on Sea of Galilee and heading into our day. We head to a campus where the community brings together and strengthens the ties between Arab and Israelis. They have many projects that they've started and accomplished! [Read More]

Biking through the Hula Nature Reserve

Day 9: March 20, 2018

Simone van der Meer & Koee Poon
Into the Mystic

We start our day off with a relaxing and serene bike ride in the Hula Nature Reserve. Everyone grabs a bike or a golf cart and heads out on the bike path. As we start to spread out along the route I find myself hanging back and enjoying the peace and quiet of being alone in this beautiful oasis...[Read More]

On top of the Mountains - overlooking Syrian Border

Day 8: March 19, 2018

Katie Lewis

We begin our day on the bus driving through drastically different scenery than the morning before, from deserts to rolling hills and luscious greenery. As we drive, I notice that it seems like so much of our surroundings can be related back to war and periods of unrest, mostly from the Syrians in the 1950s...[Read More]


Day 7: March 18, 2018

Petro Pulido

Our earliest morning yet. It's 0630 and we are already on the bus. The bus isn't its usual self- jokes and playfulness are at a minimum. Everyone is tired from waking up so early. Our guide, Edan, finally begins with his lecture as we are passing the Dead Sea, heading towards Masada...[Read More]

Shabbatin Jerusalem

Day 6: March 17, 2018

Jonathan Bortnik
Shabbat. What a concept.

The calendar, the clock, the flow, the entire vibrational frequency of Jerusalem is based on the concept of Shabbat. When you live in a non-Jewish society you have to find discreet avenues to express your Jewishness, but in Israel you are expressing it all the time whether you are Jewish or not...[Read More]

Yad Vashem

Day 5: March 16, 2018

Anastasia Richardson and Nicole Cruz

Growing up in a Jewish household – especially in a daily with a survivor, you're taught about the Holocaust you're whole life. I was looking forward to Yad Vashem from the moment I found I was attending the Israeli seminar...[Read More]


Day 4: March 15, 2018

Adrian Breitfeld and Jane Skinner

Is there hope?

The day started with me asking the same question I've been asking since '95 (since Rabin's assasination) there hope in Israel for peace? I went to Israel in 2007 and left without an answer, so this time I'm hopeful but with no high expectations...[Read More]

The Salad Trail Greenhouse

Day 3: March 14, 2018

Colleen Horn and Chris DiPietro

8:00 a.m. Breakfast

The morning started with a lot of laughter at the breakfast table. We were reading the blog Jhos wrote Day 1, where he mentioned... [Read More]

Ben Gurion's Grave

Day 2: March 13, 2018

Cyrus Mallare

As I finally settle in my room, I tried very hard to get some rest. I finally fell asleep at 4:30 am which I only then had gotten up at 5:30 am. To say the least I was really worried as to what we were going to be doing for the day. [Read More]

Arrival in Israel

Day 1: March 12, 2018

Jhos Singer

One by one we find each other – a few in the check-in area, a few going through security, there's Anastasia, Emily and Koee catching a bite to eat, Hether and Colleen having a cocktail – within an hour we have coalesced into a group and begin to move as one. [Read More]