As you know by now, we are in Israel! It’s crazy to think this is already the end of the second day for us. What a beautiful and exciting day it has been, beginning with our arrival at Ben Gurion Airport with a warm handshake and “Welcome Home” greeting, and finally settled in Tel Aviv. Beautiful, exciting Tel Aviv!

We are proud of our Y2I teens, who were praised by El Al staff for their excellent manners and admirable behavior during the long flight to Israel. They wanted to be sure I let their parents know how much they appreciated our teens’ behavior. Really nice to hear. Consider the message delivered.

Our exuberant Israeli tour educators—Ron, Menash and Ori—are excited to show your kids around Israel and to share their beautiful country with them. Your kids are in very good hands with these guys; Ron, Menash and Ori have been leading Y2I trips for years.

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It’s heartwarming to see new friendships already taking hold. It’s quite amazing, actually; most of these kids would not have met each other if not for Y2I.  Now, each is part of something really special, 2017 Y2I, and part of something much larger, a family of Y2I alumni, numbering more than 2,500!

We are by the beautiful Mediterranean Sea at the Grand Beach Hotel.  Take a look at the view from the rooftop of the hotel, where we spent time enjoying the pool after a delicious dinner buffet. As you can see from our photo below, the view of Tel Aviv skyline and the Mediterranean Sea from the rooftop pool is amazing! It’s been a relaxing evening, giving teens time to acclimate and unwind and just kind of take it all in.

Our view of the Mediterranean Sea from the Grand Beach Hotel

Tomorrow, and every day hereafter, will be full of new experiences and new people to meet. Most of our time will be spent outdoors, which is really a gift for your kids. They will partake of tons of fresh air and sunshine (not to worry…we remind them about sunblock and drinking water).

The next couple of days we will tour Tel Aviv, including Independence Hall, visiting the very room in which Israel was declared a State in 1948. We’ll also shop at the shuk (market) and experience more of Israel, the “Start-up Nation,” when we tour the “State of Mind Center,” including the interactive center, a meeting with an entrepreneur and a special Start-up Nation game along Rothschild Street. Then we’re on to the Weitzman Institute of Science, ranked tenth in the world, for the quality of its research. What an amazing day we have planned to show your kids why Israel is celebrated and revered for its innovation.

On Wednesday we “go up” to Jerusalem, the most special, unique and holy city to Jews in the world, where we will stay for a few days. We’ll walk where our ancestors walked, and touch the Wall of our prayers, leaving our handprints on stones that have survived for millennia.

Know that everyone is well and happy and truly enjoying themselves. I look forward to writing from Jerusalem!

With love from Tel Aviv, Israel.

Robert I. Lappin Youth to Israel Adventure (Y2I) is a fully funded, fun and exciting life-changing Israel experience for Jewish teens who are rising juniors and seniors in high school and who live in or are members of a temple in any of the 23 cities or towns in Lappin Foundation’s service area. Y2I, a rite of passage for Jewish teens, is open to all, regardless of level of Jewish observance, education, affiliation or abilities.

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