As soon as Shabbos ended last week, the 11 MTA students participating in this year’s Makor Chaim Exchange Program rushed to JFK Airport to catch their flight, along with Rabbi Richter and Mrs. Rosenberg who accompanied them to the Holy Land. After a long but uneventful trip, a bus was waiting at Ben Gurion to take the boys and their madrich, Uri Avrabuch, to the Kotel. From there, the boys were treated to a delicious dinner in the home of Rabbi Michoel Brandwein, a rebbe in Yeshivat Hakotel. They then finally arrived at Makor Chaim, greeted by the locals with enjoyable singing and dancing.

The next morning began with the gathering of the 10th grade students of both MTA and Makor Chaim in a program titled “V’kulam Mekablim.” Students of both nationalities shared what they hoped to accomplish while the MTA students were visiting. That night, the 11 boys were welcomed into the home of Yedidya Selah, the head of the 10th grade in Makor Chaim, where refreshments were served. He told them that his house is always open to them.

On Tuesday, Uri took the boys on a mini-tiyul around Kfar Etzion, and that night, the Israelis and Americans teamed up in a fun game of Taboo. The next morning, the exchange students had an enlightening meeting with Rav Adin Steinsaltz in which, among other things, he made it clear to them that they should do something significant in their lives. Thursday was a day with normal classes, but in the evening there was plenty of pre-Shabbos ruach with dancing and mishmar.

To this point, the 11 students have been having a time to remember, and we expect that will be added upon with their first Shabbos in Makor Chaim.
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