Emmie Infeld: My Teen Israel Experience

Emmie Infeld and BB Rubin experiencing sunrise at Masada.

By: Emmie Infeld

Emmie Infeld, daughter of Dr. Jason and Stephani Infeld is a junior at St. Mary’s Episcopal School. Memphis Jewish Federation’s Lemsky Endowment Fund provided her with a Teen Israel Experience grant to help offset the cost of her NFTY Jacob’s Camp Israel trip last summer. All rising high school juniors and seniors in the Memphis Jewish community are eligible for grants up to $3,000 to attend a recognized teen summer or semester program in Israel. Applications for Summer 2023 are now available online. To learn more and apply, please click here.

This past summer I spent four weeks in Israel. This NFTY Jacobs Camp trip was the most memorable summer I have ever had. Spending the summer with my best friends that I met years ago at Jacobs camp, mixed with a new place that most of us had never visited, made for the most incredible trip.

When we first got there, I was a little skeptical as literally everything was different from what I grew up with. As one day passed, I knew the trip was going to be amazing. On the first day, we all reconnected with each other after not having seen each other for an entire year. As a group of thirty-five teenagers, we got along perfectly. The first place we went to in Israel was Jerusalem. We started off the trip with a highpoint view of Jerusalem to see the city from above. The view was gorgeous.

While in Jerusalem we also stopped at multiple markets. The markets are not comparable to anything in the United States. This was a whole new experience, but the ability to roam around with friends made the experience a lot less stressful. My favorite things we did in Jerusalem were an archaeological dig and climbing through caves. Climbing through the caves was such a fun experience. We then spent our first Shabbat in Israel at the Western Wall which was special for everyone. Growing up I always heard about the Western Wall in Sunday school, so actually seeing it was surreal.

We then traveled to the Dead Sea to start our three nights under the stars in the desert. The Dead Sea was much different than I had expected, but an experience that was so memorable. Our first night under the stars was at the Bedouin tents, where we were able to ride camels, hear stories, try new food, and meet new people. Ironically, the night at the Bedouin tents was the best night of sleep I had during the entire trip. We then woke up before sunset to climb Masada and to see the amazing view and witness the sunrise. Even though I am not a morning person, Masada was my favorite part of the whole trip. The view was gorgeous, and the climb was surprisingly relaxing. We spent the next three days hiking through the desert and sleeping under the stars. I definitely felt at one with nature while sleeping under the stars in the desert.

Next, we moved to Zikhron Ya’akov, which had a completely different feel from Jerusalem and the desert. It was less of a city than Jerusalem and had much more greenery than the desert.

After that, we completed Sea to Sea. We successfully hiked and biked from the Sea of Galilee to the Mediterranean Sea. In the next part of our trip, we had some Israelis our age join us from Shoham, Israel. They were so fun to meet, and I still try to keep up with them. In the last segment of our trip, we stayed outside of Tel Aviv and were able to explore some areas of the city that I loved.

On our last Shabbat, we went to services in Tel Aviv at an area that overlooked the water. That was my last super memorable night in Israel, and overall, the trip was the best experience.

Thank you to Memphis Jewish Federation’s Lemsky Endowment Fund for helping to make my NFTY Jacobs Camp Israel trip possible.

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