After ten wonderful days in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, our tour group has embarked on it's last day (and is actually back in the United States as I type this).
The last stop before we headed out to Ben Gurion Airport was Hadassah Hospital, where we were marveled by the Chagall stained glass windows inside.
It was a wonderful trip, with so many memorable stops and sights. On top of this once in a lifetime experience to visit our holy land, it was a great experience for the group to bond and learn together. Special thanks to Neighborhood Senior Center Director Ilene Yair for orchestrating and directing this trip, and taking the time out of her busy days to take pictures and send along notes to be posted.
To see our tour's photo album on Facebook, click here.
After a delightful Friday evening, our tour group used Shabbot, a day of rest, to get back out to the Old City, as it rained miserably on Friday and hampered our day.
After entering through the Jaffe gate, several members of the group went on a walking tour of the Christian Quarter of the Old City. We went down the street of the Greek Patriarchs, ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Christian pilgrims from all over the world were there, including groups from Ethiopia and Nigeria. We went on to the Market in the Muslim Quarter, and even though it was still quite foggy from the bad weather, it was a very unique experience.
The skies fully cleared up on Sunday, allowing us to enjoy a beautiful day in Jerusalem. We split up in the nation's capital, as half of the group was dropped off at Yad Veshem, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the others went on to the charming neighborhood of Ein Kerem.
The group met back up for lunch, and ended the day at the Israel Museum, where we saw the Dead Sea Scrolls, and other unique antiquities and Judaica from the last 700 years!
We're so sad that tomorrow's our last day, but it's been a great trip and it's been an absolute joy sharing out pictures and experiences!
We've been very fortunate to have great weather for the vast majority of our trip, but on day number nine, it rained, and rained, and rained, and....you get the point. As disappointing as the weather was, we still had plans to visit Jerusalem, specifically the Old City, and we saw some lovely sights.
While in Jerusalem, we visted the Burnt House, where the group was shown a short film about the Roman destruction of the second temple. We also went took the tunnels to the Western Wall, which was one of the most amazing things we saw during our trip.
The group stopped for lunch at a mall in the Talpiot neighborhood, but didn't leave Old City without visiting the Hurva Synagogue, pictured below.
We will be spending our second shabbat with an Israeli family, and will have updates for you after the weekend!
Day number eight began with a quick stop at the Ein Gedi waterfall, where some hiked to the top of the fall, but most decided to stay near the bottom to observe the fall.
From there, we went over to the Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. During this stop, the group witnessed an archaeological dig, and we got to see workers unearth an ancient coin!
Afterwards, we stopped for lunch at Abraham's Tent, which is a re-creation of biblical times. This was really cool, as we were offered the opportunity to ride camels through the desert to get to the tent.
We ended our day by heading towards Jerusalem, where we'll be visiting/blogging about tomorrow!
We're seven days into our trip, and I must say it's been a great time! Day seven began with a trip to Masada, where the group visited Herodium, also known as Herod the Great's Fortress, which was the home of the last stand of Jewish Zealots.
The group took a cable car to the top of the fortress, with one - energetic! - member opting to climb to the top via the snake path.
Today was also the day that the group got to visit, and even relax in the Dead Sea!
It was a very active, and very tiring day. With that said, it was another opportunity to visit monuments and locations that we've heard about all of our lives, and it was a very special day. We don't want our trip to end soon!
And on the sixth day...the Samuel Field Y Israel Tour Group visited the ancient city of Bet She'an, which was first settled 6,000-7,000 years ago! We explored the excavations from the Greco-Roman and Byzantium periods, and took LOTS of pictures of the historic sight.
From there, our group went to Masada, where we'll visit the dead sea tomorrow. Along the way, we stopped at the Jordan River at Qasar El-Yahud, which is historically known as the water in which Jesus was baptized. The group was moved by the amount of baptisms we witnessed while stopping at the Jordan River, and it was incredible watching how meaningful the act was to those who were baptized.
Our day also included a stop at Bayt Alpha, where we saw some incredible Mosaics. Stay tuned for more updates!
Shabbat, and the two days following it, have come and gone, and we're at the halfway point in our trip to Israel!
Our group spent Saturday morning at the home of Chaim and Esti, at Moshav Givat Hen, and were told all about living on a Moshav, specifically the main differences between a Moshav (an agricultural community) and a kibbutz. The moshav was beautiful, and we enjoyed sitting on Chaim and Esti's deck and just taking in the view.
We went back south to Tel Aviv later in the day, and a portion of our group branched out to visit Neve Tzedek, a neighborhood in the south western part of the city, where they did a little shopping and stopped for delicious gelato.
On Sunday we left Tel Aviv to head to Tiberias, and stopped along the way at the beautiful Bahai Gardens in Haifa.
For lunch, we visited the town of Zikhron Yaakov, which was one of the first Jewish settlements in what was then known as Palestine. Not only did we enjoy a nice lunch, but we also shopped for more unique jewelry!
Monday began with a visit to the Hula Lake bird sanctuary, where the group took a ride in a large camouflaged vehicle pulled by a tractor. We spotted migrated cranes, herons, mallards, and various birds of prey, in addition to a wild boar and a jackal.
We also crossed over the Jordan River, from the Golan Heights to the Galilee. This was one of the most scenic moments of our trip, as we were able to see Quneitra in Syria. We were also educated on the history of the city of Safat, just before heading over to the magnificent synagogues of Rabbis Joseph Caro and Ha Ari.
And what would our day have been without some fruit? OK, maybe the grapes we consumed were fermented, but we also found time to enjoy ourselves at the Harei Galil Winery in Yiron Israel, on the Lebanese border.
It's been a great few days, and we'll keep you posted throughout the week.
After getting a nice evening's rest, our group convened this morning very excited for their first full day in the holy land! The group spent the day in Israel's second largest city, Tel Aviv, and had a great time learning about the history and culture.
The above photo is from Independence Hall, where our group was taught about the birth of the city of Tel Aviv and the state of Israel. We ate, and ate some more (the food in Tel Aviv is so good!), and then went on to the Ayalon Institute in Rehovot, also known as Haganah's underground ammunition factory. Our group was marveled by the history behind building this factor, which above ground looks like your typical kibbutz. You can read more about the Ayaloon Institute here.
We also spent a great portion of our day shopping at the Nachalat Benyamin Mall, which aesthetically, isn't what American's would consider a mall, more like what a street fair or even Canal Street would look like. Below's a picture of some of the jewelry available to us, oh yeah, lot's of good food!
It was an action packed day, which we cut short in observation of Shabbat, which will be observed with a family that's very excited to host us and teach us about Israeli traditions! We'll be back with more updates on Sunday or Monday!
After months of anticipation, our Neighborhood Senior Center's trip to Israel is finally here!
The group of almost 20 departed from JFK airport on Wednesday evening, and arrived in Tel-Aviv Thursday afternoon, where they'll be staying at the Dan Panorama Hotel. Below is a picture of several members of the group, with the group's tour guide Gil.
After arriving at the hotel in the late afternoon following a 12-hour flight, the group rested up for a little bit before reconvening for dinner, which took place at the Maganda Restaurant in the Yeminite quarter of Tel Aviv. The first dinner entailed a variety of Yeminite salads, chicken and turkey skewers, and a delicious baklava accompanied by Yeminite tea with fresh mint leaves.
At the end of a long day of travel, it was great to take in such a fulfilling and authentic meal. Our group also got to witness their first sunset over the Mediterranean Sea, which was just mesmerizing.
On the docket for tomorrow: a tour of the old city of Jaffe, lunch at a local eaterie, and at last, some open air market in Tel Aviv. We'll keep you posted!
At the Samuel Field Y adult volunteers have the opportunity to utilize their unique skills and talents to be of service to our community in powerful and innovative ways. These volunteers have a major impact on the wide range of clients that the Y serves.
Current volunteers assist and empower frail, homebound, elderly individuals to stay independent in their home through our Caring Calls program. Volunteers also assist staff in planning and implementing fun and safe activities for individuals with developmental disabilities for our A Time for Us program, and they even make dolls for children experiencing challenging life situations. These are just a few of the many opportunities that are available here at the Y for our adult volunteers and we are constantly working to form new partnerships and projects within the community that volunteers can take part in.
Most recently, Engage, UJA’s Jewish Service Corps for adults, is partnering up with Met Council for a new initiative to try to connect eligible community members with food assistance. Volunteers involved in this hands-on project will play a pivotal role in assisting individuals and families in need in Queens with much needed resources.
All over New York City personable, professional and enthusiastic volunteers are Engaging in combatting hunger, and now volunteers in Queens and Long Island have the opportunity to act as portals to these critical resources. Volunteers will participate in a training session to become benefits experts and will have the opportunity to sign up for hour and a half volunteer shifts located throughout our community, at three green markets in Queens.
To get involved and attend the training, or for more information on adult volunteer opportunities, please contact Jordana Davidson, LMSW at 718-225-6750 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every year our Neighborhood Senior Center hosts a special Luau themed lunch, where we play music, dance, and
come together to eat a unique Hawaiian themed meal. Some years we have special guests join us, some years its
a very special musical performance, but this year, we held our party in a special place.
For the first time ever, we were able to host a community-wide event at the Tanenbaum Family Pool, and the results
We were overwhelmed in the best possible way by how many guests, both Senior Center members and non-members,
joined us for the evening, as approximately 400 people were treated to a night of swimming, dancing, delicious food,
and groovy tunes from local musician Al Smith. We were also joined by NY State Senator Tony Avella, Assemblyman
Ed Braunstein, and Assemblyman David Weprin, who have all played a big role in helping us renovate and re-open
the newly acquired pool club.
As much fun as we typically have at our Luau's - which are one of four different Cultural Awareness events that the
Senior Center annual hosts, so far this year they've also held a Greek Festival - it was incredibly special to be able to
introduce our community to the Tanenbaum Family Pool club, and show them that there's a great place in Little Neck
for them to beat the heat during the summer.
Special thank you's go out to our senior staff for organizing and carrying out such a fantastic and engaging, not to
mention well organized event. We're also thankful for our teen volunteers, who worked tirelessly despite it being
one of the hottest days of the year.
To see pictures from the event you can click here, and for more information on the Tanenbaum Family Pool, click here.
Long time SFY board member and Teen Council mentor Michael Bizenov was recently honored for his dedication and support of Jewish day camp both through his work for the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds, where he is on the board of directors, currently serving as treasurer, and his work for the Samuel Field Y.
Michael has a long history with HKC, as he was an SFY camper, as well as a site manager and caretaker of HKC-Long Island. He even lived on the grounds for a number of years!
Michael was presented the award by fellow HKC board member Jeff Solomon, and SFY Board President Larry Gottlieb was also in attendance.
Congratulations on this well deserved award, Biz!
The Tanenbaum Family, New York State Senator Tony Avella, and state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein joined us to celebrate the inaugural season of the Tanenbaum Family Pool, previously known as the Deepdale Community Pool, on Thursday June 4. Below is an article written by Alina Suriel of the Queens Courier, summing up the evening's celebrations. We'd like to thank the courier, as well as the Bayside Ledger, and the Queens Chronicle for covering this momentous occasion in our agency's history, and for more information on the pool, please call (718) 428-5050.
Members of the Samuel Field Y in Little Neck celebrated renovations to, and the renaming of, the former Deepdale Community Pool on June 4.
Now known as the Tanenbaum Family Pool, the Deepdale pool was acquired by the Samuel Field Y in early spring, and opened to the public in late May after renovations partially funded by the family for which it is named.
The entire renovations cost an estimated $850,000, with $400,000 coming directly from the Tanenbaums, $250,000 from funding requested by Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein, and $200,000 in funds allocated by state Senator Tony Avella.
The Tanenbaum clan has long ties to the Samuel Field Y, with Richard Tanenbaum serving as the organization’s co-chair and member of the board of directors for over 25 years. His father, Joseph Tanenbaum, is named as a lifetime trustee, and was one of the original founders of the Y since it was started in the mid-1950s.
The entire Tanenbaum family was in attendance for the ribbon cutting of their namesake pool, as well as local officials and Samuel Field Y executives. All attendees enjoyed barbecue food at the pool club, which is located across the street from the Samuel Field Y at 58-25 Little Neck Pkwy.
“The Deepdale Pool has always been a valuable resource for our community,” said Braunstein. “I want to thank the Samuel Field Y and the Tanenbaum family for working together to ensure the survival of this vital facility, not only for the present, but for future generations of Northeast Queens residents.”
The pool club facility includes a large swimming pool with a shallow end for children, a kiddie pool, basketball, handball, and tennis courts, volleyball, and a snack bar.
For information on joining the pool club as a member, call the Y at 718-428-5050.
Samuel Field Y volunteer Evan Fischer was recently recognized at the annual UJA Federation of New York Volunteer Recognition ceremony, which honors the wonderful work of volunteers in dozens of New York City communities.
An outstanding and dedicated volunteer, Evan is most deserving of this honor. Evan has been a wonderful asset to our Respite Program. Without hesitation, he readily assists in all areas of the program, enthusiastically agreeing to do anything requested of him.
And Evan truly does a bit of everything!
He accompanies clients who have difficulty ambulating, assists in dismissal, helps to prepare and serve snack and lunch, offers friendly assistance during program activities, supervises clients who wander (which believe it or not, happens!), cleans up from program activities, and has even been seen washing the walls! Evan also takes part in some of our more fun activities, as he calls bingo, challenges our clients with word and trivia games, and often leads an exercise routine with the group.
Whenever the program is short staffed, he always volunteers to fill in. Evan's work flexibility has been very valuable to our staff and to our program needs.
Evan has a very sweet way with our clients and treats all of our seniors in a friendly, warm and caring manner. He takes the time to acknowledge all of our participants, engaging them in conversation and offering positive reinforcement. His one on one involvement with our lower functioning population is incredible. He is patient, kind and attentive, and genuinely strives to make all of our participants feel good about themselves.
Without a doubt, Evan is one of the most dedicated volunteers that we have ever had in the Respite Program. His recognition by UJA Federation of NY is well deserved. We are very lucky to have him, and are so proud of him!
Here is UJA's official write-up of the ceremony, which also discusses the increase in boomer volunteers.
To find out how YOU can volunteer in any of the SFY's variety of programs, click here.
This week's SFY Blog is about one of our newest programs, The Jewish Single Parent Initiative, and it was written by the program's director, Rachel Hoffman. Rachel discusses the group's latest outing, and offers further details about the impact that the group is making already.
The Jewish Single Parent Initiative recently had a fun, exciting and meaningful day at the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn. Families from the Central Queens Y and the Samuel Field Y joined together to take a Sunday bus excursion, with the theme revolving around Passover. As a group, we learned about some of the holiday's most significant foods, and then did our own food shopping! After we finished shopping, we split our group of families up into two teams, and played trivia games.
With children ranging from three years old to early adolescents, we had a blast as we took a journey through time, and learned about the history of Israel. The children also had the opportunity to visit Abraham’s tent, and climb on huge replications of Challah!
This fun filled day provided a chance for both the children and parents to socialize with one another in an educational environment. This is just one of the opportunities offered through the Jewish Single Parent Initiative. Other services include support groups, financial and legal consultations, individual and family therapy, job search and employment workshops and much more!
We can't wait for our next family trip!
For more information contact Rachel Hoffman, LMSW at 718-225-6750 ext. 248 or email at email@example.com
On Friday, March 20, seniors and staff of the Samuel Field Y joined to learn about and embrace a little bit of diversity. Led by Kallyope Glotsos, one of our social workers at Deepdale Cares, the seniors celebrated Greek Day, as they were treated to traditional Greek music, dances, and yummy food.
Kally explains the origins behind the culture that was displayed, as she was kind enough to write us a guest blog feature summing up the special afternoon:
I couldn't believe the way the room erupted when I walked in dressed up in my great grandmothers attire, which has been passed down throughout many generations. After I explained the importance of the clothing, how it was made, when it was worn and the meaning to each piece, we got into the fun part, music and dancing! During the cultural celebration, in which live entertainment was provided by George Kontos, and Nicholas Nikolaidis, many of the seniors joined me in dancing, and some of them picked up the new moves they were taught really quickly! The celebration featured cultural music from different islands, including Karavia Chiotika, a song from the island of Chios, which are the roots of my ancestors, The Ikariotiko, a song and dance from the island of Ikaria, the Kalamatiano, a song and dance from the island of Kalamata, as well as many other traditional songs. Mr. Nikolaidis also took a moment to showcas the Bouzouki, a Greek musical instrument that looks and functions almost like a guitar.
For lunch, we served pita chips, Greek salad, and grape leaves, which in Greek are known as “Dolmades.”
This event displayed similarities between Greek and Jewish culture, as most dances were circle dances. Circle dances serve a purpose, as they form a sense of community and allow people to feel united. It was a great afternoon for the seniors and for the the Samuel Field Y in general, as this celebration summed up the way our agency encourages and embraces diversity.