Not going to apologize any more..suffice it to say that there is no internet access in the mountains of Australia..
Anyway..wanted to update you on soem of the most amazing days of our Kanfei trip...I am skipping to last Friday through today Wedensday our last day in Asutralia...
We arrived in Katoomba, a mountain top town at the cente rof ther Blue Mountains of Asutralia and settled in to our new home for the next six nights..
On friday morning we all went on an amazingly beautiful hike down the rock formations known as t"The Three Sisters' . In was a breathtaking clinb down and up..breathtaking in more ways thatn one!..very tiring..some of us did a regorous hike through the forest calley and climbed up the other side while others took a more leisurely pace..all had an amazing time..
Shabat in the Blue Mountan was focused on Israel , our connection towards it and the issues it faces with regards to religiond and state..After the measl Friday night we ran a program on the issue and campers end up coninuing the disscussion well into the night..
Shabbat day we had shiur focused on Hichot Shabbat abd a beautiful meal and singing as shabbat ended as asusal..
saturday night we had Israeli army night which was a ral adventure as it began to rain during our "training"//still it was fun and gave us a bit of a feel of waht it must be like o be in the army..
Sunday was the day we had all been waiting for as we awoke early and ventured into the wolds most beuatiful city..SYDNEY, Australia..
Our frist stop after our busride into the city was an overlook and picture spot with the most gloorious veiw of the world famousn Syudney Opera house. The day was perfect and the excitemntment of the iew and the lacation was palpaple among all of the Kanfei'ers..
We then took a walk along the coast to the Opera House and vivsiting a Kosher Baskin Robbins (our first kosher ice cream chain of the summer!
We then drove to a suburb of Sydney knonw as manly and took a ferry towars the city for an amazing view and perspective of the entire city of Sydeny and it gorgeuos skyline and suburbs along the coast..We then visited enchanting Darling harbor for some great shopping and city views andattractions. it is THEE most beautiful wateeside shopping area int he world..South Street eaport on steroids!
The day aended with a Kanfei treat of a restaurant dinner in Sydney..it was a bot hectic as there is not restaurant in asurtalia that can handle 70 hungry teenagers on demand but eventually we all recieved great food and were very satisfied..We returned home laste that night to begin to prepare for tisha B'av..
Monday AM after a realtively late wake up by Kanfei standars (8;00 AM) we all boarded a bus to visit the Featherdale Wildlife Park to see kangaroos and Koala up close and take photographs holding them..It was so great and capped off our asutralia immersion..We even stopped off at an UGG factory on the way back ( if you dont know waht that is then explaing wont help anyway)
We then ate a great pre fast meal follwoed by our egg, bred and ashes and prepared for the fast..
I wish I could desribe to you adequately how special tisdha B'av was on kanfei this year..In my most far fetched deasm I could not have been prepared for waht we experinced.
it started with maariv and an Ontroduction to tisha B'Av and Eicha that was given by our wonderful counselor benjy Gold smidt and then continued with the kinot being each intorduced menaingfully by a counsleor or camoer..
then afte a small break the counselors put on a few skirts depicting the challenges and Misirat nefeshthat jews faced throughtout the ages..each skit was powerful and ended asking jashem Ad matai..how much longer must this suffering go on.Something happened ot all the campers and staff whle watching the skits..somehow eveyone began to reall yfeel waht Tisha ba;av was all about and turly got n touch with te suffering of AM Yisral abd the yearning for Hashem ..after the skits we hd a kumsiz where afew campers and counselors shared their thoughts on waht tisha B'av meant to them..that started at about 8:20 in the eening..it goes soemtines for 45 minutes if it goes well..as other peole moved to sdahre choose to speak as well interispersed with songs..this year...at 11:30 PM (over 3 hours later ) we decided to take a break and go to sleep..we 3 hours camper s and counselors sat riveted to hearing each others thoughts on tisha B'av and learning from the earts and thoughts of the group..People literral broke down crying when they spoke about Gilad Shlit or other suffering of Jews or even personal stories that tied in with the existensial sense of not knowing why there is uffering or pain in the world and the distance one feels from ahsem duirng those times or the closeness.
it was just soo special.One boy who had a previous medical confition and was debating about fasting all day got uo and decided right there that he will certianly fast and many campers commented to rabbi Scheinfeld that it was the most meaningful tisha B'ac they had eer expeined..
today , our last day inAustralia we took a beautiful walk on Bondi Beach Coast and after Chatzot celebrated the official ending of the tisha B'av mourning period with an delicious meat restaurant meal at the famus katzys on Bondi beach..
We are just about to board our lane back to the US Hawaii..
We are all ofcourse so excited about hawaii but will miss the unique feeling and perspective that a bit if distance from our regualr lives and emails and phones gives us..tomorow according to rabbi scheinfeld we aer alowed to use our phones again..Grat news but truthfully it was so great to be iothout them until now and experince life that way..
I must mention that every day we have thoughs of the day at tefiillah and over this past week we have 3 truly precious ones..
In one , rabbi Scheinfedl read for the first time a letter he has=d received from a gift of Life Recipient of his stem cells..ift was amazing to hear from the oerson whose life was a=saved and see how s=a simpe cheeek swab by rabbi Scheinfeld ended up saving someones life
another was by Michelle Litton who shared her personalstory about what it is like to live with Diabetes..her attitude and Emuna was amazingly inspirational and Zoe Barth our counselor shared on erev tisha b'v the story of survival of her grand father...her emotion and sincerity focused us all on tisha b 'av
Well thas all for now..next blog will b from Hawaii!
Still exciting but it is the USA so may not be as cool to write..
Hope your fats well meaningful..
Good day, mahalo!