About My Israel

From time to time, the Cleveland Jewish News features accounts and stories of students, rabbis and other community member's trips to Israel.

Sam and Rina Frankel, of Shaker Heights, and their children attended the 25th anniversary celebration of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. They were among the 138 survivors who attended the April 9 event.

I really didn’t want to do this run. I heard it was mostly uphill and I hate hilly runs. I heard it can get very humid and I flash back to last May when I collapsed from heat exhaustion at the last mile of a half marathon. I heard it brings in some 30,000 runners and I get nervous in crowds. 

I grew up in Cleveland with a sense of pride in being Jewish. I was a part of a very special b’nai mitzvah with my cousin and being able to do that with her was amazing. I’m also a third-generation Holocaust survivor on my father’s side. I never met my grandfather who I’m named after. I was …

A tremendous privilege that comes with living in Israel is understanding the politics on a very experiential and personal level. Living in 2018 means a world of unlimited information at our fingertips, but what I have learned from living here is that being aware of the myriad “facts” tied to…

“Veer away from wearing red, tie your hair back in a bun, and cover your legs in stockings or tights,” were a few pointers our teacher told us to remember while walking through his community to join his family of 10 for a Shabbat meal. I, along with three girls from my school, nervously and …

As part of her bat mitzvah experience at Congregation Am Shalom in Winnetka, Ill., my granddaughter, Ariana Freimuth, elected to participate in a mitzvah project in Israel. She decided to attempt to focus on Beit Shean because it is Cleveland’s sister city in Israel. Indeed, shortly after th…

In the words of my esteemed Rabbis and outstanding teachers: this is the year to “nurture my neshama” (my soul), “develop my midot” (my character traits), and “connect to Hashem”. Each day from 9:00 in the morning to 9:00 at night I travel from classroom to classroom, collecting information …

When I️ was younger I️ used the word “holy” interchangeably with the word “magic”. Enthralled by my teachers’ mesmerizing illustrations of the Kotel from a very young age, my first trip to see it in person was surreal. I️ was 12 and naive but so fascinated by the entire experience and the hi…

And God told Avram “go-forth”. And this week, so did I. We learn in Parshat Lech-Lecha of Avram’s bravery in leaving everything he knew in order to carry out the orders of God. Along the way, Avram gained immense insight into who he really was and what he was capable of. His journey of fulfi…

The succession of the autumn holidays usually stirs up certain, familiar feelings and signifies a special time of year. The routine begins with the excitement of Rosh Hashanah which leads into the reflection period of Yom Kippur, ending in crowded, but cozy meals and sleepovers in the Sukkah…

It's hard to believe that just one week ago I was anticipating my year in Israel while still in the comfort of my own home in Solon, Ohio. What's even harder to believe is that just one year ago I was studying for my last rounds of ACTs and SATs, finalizing my college resume, and obsessing o…

Over the past eight months, I have gone through a lot of changes. I knew traveling to Israel would begin my process of healing, but what I didn’t know was how much it would influence my outlook on life.

Cameras in hand, the 28 eighth-graders at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School in Beachwood enjoyed a jam-packed trip to Israel, from north to south, surrounded by lifelong friends and teachers. But while some used historically focused lenses, others chose to put religious or cul…

Gross Schechter Day School not only has taught us about our Judaism, but it has strengthened our commitment to our tradition and culture. At the beginning of eighth grade, we got pen pals from Beit Shean, Israel, and spent the whole year communicating with them. 

It took a cancelled flight, a tasty Newark airport Caesar salad, and a 10 hour Advil PM induced sleep coma, but my wife Allie, 50 fellow Park Synagogue congregants, and I finally arrived at Nof Ginosar Kibbutz Hotel just after dinner time this evening. I first planned to visit Israel as a NY…

Our group always seems to be craving food, but today we tasted the freshest of the fresh. We visited Talmai Yoseph a Kibbutz that was home to Shvil Hasalat. The kibbutz and others like it are only the beginning of Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion’s dream- that the sand covered …

If you are a morning person, then today was certainly the day for you. However, if you aren’t a morning person like me it started off as a bumpy ride. We woke up at 4:30 A.M. and got ready for the day. The day started off with a 1-hour (ish) bus ride to the Eilat Mountains where we hiked up …

How do we describe Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut in Israel? Yesterday, for Israel’s Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron), we visited Har Herzl (Mt. Herzl) and saw families and soldiers visiting the graves of soldiers who died protecting the state. One gravesite that stood out was Yoni Netanyahu’s.…

We started our fifth day by walking to shul. We had a lot of fun going to a synagogue called Kol Riva, where we prayed in an enthusiastic way and sang lots of songs. We then went on a walk on a beautiful sunny day through the neighborhood of Yemin Moshe, where we learned about Moshe Montefio…

The view was absolutely amazing while we were slowly floating down the Jordan River with our pen pals by our side. The sun wasn’t too hot but not too cold either. It was just perfect.

Our fourth day started with everyone packing up their bags to get ready to leave for Jerusalem. After managing to fit our items back into our bags and loading up the bus, we drove to Mt. Arbel, where we would hike with other 8th graders from Schechter. During this hike, we only had rope to h…

“Yeverechecha” is a very familiar and meaningful word to me. In a simple sense means “bless”, but it holds so much more meaning than that to me. Every Friday, I feel the warm, loving hands of my parents on my head as they say these words with the same inflection as the week before, speaking …

The view was gorgeous from atop Mt. Arbel. While it was lightly raining, we prayed with breathtaking views of all the other mountains around us and the Kineret just below us. As we finished praying, and the weather cleared up, our friends from the Mandel school pulled up in their van. After …

During our first full day in Israel, students began to feel Israel’s “magic” in the air. Our 8th graders started the morning with great discussions by the Kineret. Then, after eating breakfast, we took an hour bus ride to meet with our Bet Shean buddies. After being in contact with our buddi…

The waves crashed up against the rocks on the Tel Aviv beach. The sea breeze hit our faces. Everyone gathered together under the rainbow in the sky. The whole class sang the prayer “Shehachiyanu”. We could not be happier that this day is finally here!

Dangling right below my Magen David necklace is my camera, strapped around my neck. With my camera I use my creativity to freeze moments, documenting my most memorable events. I have become glued to this art – so much so that it has followed me all 6,000 miles to Israel, to the point where I…

Leaving for a trip with Lane Schlessel (Director, FIDF Ohio Chapter) on October 24th for a two-week jaunt around Israel had me feeling excited, apprehensive and at the same time, in light of events in the news, even intimidated.

TEL AVIV – Now that the High Holy Days are over, I finally have time to sit on my balcony and reflect on my past month on Aardvark, a gap-year program run by Masa. I graduated from Beachwood High School, and I came here to strengthen my identity through living on my own in the land I feel co…

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland organized and funded a program for volunteers in Israel in February of 2015. Fifteen Clevelanders, including my wife Diane and I, were chosen and participated. We stayed 14 days and assisted in the schools of Beit Shean. While there we were introduced to th…

I recently returned from an unexpected, whirlwind six-day trip to Israel. After spending significant time in Israel the past four summers, three for family weddings and one for a project between the Jewish Federation and the IDF, I had sadly accepted that this summer was too ‘jammed’ with ot…

Arriving in Israel, the scenery is familiar. An airport is an airport is an airport. Beyond that, the exterior is western, but the interior holds so much more. You can feel the history in the atmosphere. The years of turmoil, more years than years of peace. A perpetual cease fire. Eternally.

The kibbutz for many of us is the quintessential creation of the Jewish settlers of Israel, long a symbol of their pioneer spirit. In a prior article, I recorded my impression of the Israelis we encountered and their amazing journey to Israel from many lands, including the little known Kurdi…

MOFET and Gordon Academic College are not normal tourist spots for most people. But on my most recent trip to Israel, they provided me with an opportunity to participate in the Israel Forum for Academic Writing (IFAW) and. an international conference on multiculturalism. Fortunately, session…

On a snowy, cold morning of Feb. 18, 2015, several Clevelanders including my wife, Diane, and I made our away to the airport for a flight to New York and then Israel for a program in Beit Shean, Israel, organized by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. Four volunteers including us were assign…

I was one of the 16 participants from the Jewish Volunteer Network who went to Beit Shean in February 2015. This was my first trip to Israel and it was such an eye opening and wonderful experience. Living on a kibbutz, meeting families and people all over Beit Shean, and volunteering at the …

I lead a variety of Israel trips for college with college students, usually in the spring and summer. The most recent trip was a Taglit-Birthright trip last May with 42 students from all over the country. On the trips, I serve as group leader and educator and I have a staff consisting of a l…

Visited Beit She'an and its Emek Maayanot (Valley of Springs) region with Jewish Federation of Cleveland's Beit She'an volunteer program in February, 2015. Thanks to the