Ezra Davidovics: My Teen Israel Experience

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Kotel (L to R) Ezra Davidovics, Yaakov Lubetski, Asher Liss, Eli Schloss, Izzy Weiner, Yehuda Kahn

Ezra Davidovics, son of Dr. Deena and Noam Davidovics, is a junior at the Cooper Yeshiva High School for Boys. Memphis Jewish Federation’s Lemsky Endowment Fund provided him with a Teen Israel Experience grant to help offset the cost of his NCSY Kollel 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. Click here to learn more and apply.

By Ezra Davidovics

Last summer I had the time of my life on NCSY Kollel. It was a completely spectacular experience which I will never forget. The learning was meaningful, the rabbis inspiring, the trips amazing, the counselors fantastic, and the friendships I made along the way long lasting. While on Kollel, I could feel how much I was growing both in my learning and athleticism. I truly believe that if you are going to Israel for the summer, NCSY Kollel is the best and most worthwhile program to attend. 

Kollel, which is in Moshav Beit Meir, a moshav near Jerusalem, is a program which beautifully blends Torah learning and sports. It includes a rigorous schedule of six hours a day of learning, with world renowned rabbis, and an equally intense basketball league, which almost all of the participants are in. The program also has great “mini-tiyulim,” (journeys) for those who don’t want to be in the league or people with an off-day from basketball, which are trips around Israel anywhere from malls to yeshiva campuses. 

Every Tuesday during the program we went on big trips to amazing places throughout the Land of Israel. These trips helped me recognize the beauty of the land I call my second home and what it means to be Zionist. My favorite trip was when I went to go climb Har Yehoram and Har Yo’ash (mountains) in Eilat. This trip was physically challenging, as much of the climb was vertically up a cliff face, but also extremely rewarding once you finally get to the top. The climb down was also another two miles and took us three hours but once we were finished with that it was still 10:00 AM! After the mountain, we went on a boat and had water sports and swimming in the Red Sea. We spent a little time at the famous Ice Mall in Eilat but unfortunately not much there was kosher.

Other tiyulim were more educational, like the Gedolim (noted rabbis) tour. This tiyul was where we went from great rabbi’s house to great rabbi’s house in the city of Bnei Brak. It was very cool and inspiring to see all these holy people and hear words of Torah from them. We were accompanied by our head counselor who knew the city well and could tell us exactly where to go. 

Over the course of the program, through the use of free time and late nights, I managed to finish three quarters of the entire Gemara Maseches (Talmud Tractate) Rosh Hashanah. This was a goal that I took on early in the program and was a tall task indeed. With four days left until the day we were leaving, I was sitting with four dapim (pages) left. I rallied my chavrusa (learning partner), and we managed to finish them all before the final day, at a much faster pace than we were used to. This is what I consider my greatest accomplishment from this program as I worked the hardest for it. Overall, I would recommend NCSY Kollel to anyone and everyone as it was, in fact, the “Best Summer Ever.”

Thank you to Memphis Jewish Federation’s Lemsky Endowment Fund for helping to make my NCSY Kollel trip possible.

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