This evening, we were graced with a nice talk by Leah Stern (top right). Leah is a correspondent for the Israel Broadcasting Authority. A native of Miami, she made aliyah to Israel nearly three years ago. Prior to making aliyah she graduated from University of Miami in Journalism. Afterwards she did stints writing for Rolling Stone, Ocean Drive and other magazines in Miami and New York. Upon making aliyah, she worked making pizza, folding laundry and as an intern for the Jerusalem Post. She caught her big break when she answered a casting call for the IBA and was hired as a correspondent. Three days later, the reporter who cut her teeth doing fluffy lifestyle pieces and restaurant reviews found herself in a helmet and a flak jacket reporting from the West Bank in the middle of a firefight. Leah spoke to our trippers about her aliyah experience and what it was like for a former partier to make the transition to living in Israel.

This further exposure to one element of the people of Israel provided a nice counterbalance to our intimate involvement in the land of Israel. Our trippers underwent 2 fairly intense hikes today – one in the hills overlooking the Golan for 3 hours and another in the water, which seemed like it was fun. I missed those hikes because I had to stay back with a couple of trip participants who weren’t feeling so well. I am happy to report that they seem much better now, so no worries.

After our chat with Leah, everyone went to the hotel lobby to terrorize the Hotel staff socialize with their friends. As you can see, everyone is fine. Really.

Allow me to introduce you to my fellow staff members – Gidon on the left who is my co-madrich and Moshe on the right who is our bus driver. All three of us are Moroccan Jews and so, for once, our trippers are getting an intense dose of Mizrachi culture which manifests itself mostly via Moshe’s impressive techno music collection, which he shares with us every day as well as his collection of Israeli Moroccan stand up comedy videos. Gidon provides the translation, which isn’t hard as most of the genre deals with making fun of Ashkenazic Jews and geffilte fish.

This is a photo of the water hike I missed. See? It does look like fun! On Thursday we will spend the day bouncing around Jerusalem. Hopefully no one will be ill.

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • The Magical Mystery Moroccan Tour! Seriously, you guys could be the next reality TV sensation.

    Hmmm… I wonder if I can get J-Lifer in touch with Leah…

  • For the record, if there is one, I come from a hardcore Ashkenazim family. Everyone except my Lithuanian grandmother hates gefilte fish and loves shakshuka.

    But it sounds like you are all having a blast….

  • Girl in polka dot bikini top. Yellow bottoms. Call Muffti. 🙂 Looks like good times. sorry Muffti can’t make it this summer to Israel but next year, CK, should be no problem.

  • Ummmmm…..yeah. “Bouncing around Jerusalem” is right.

    Don’t waste your time with Muffti, Polka-Dot Bikini Top Yellow Bottom Girl.

    Call Ephraim instead.

  • “Oh, it’s a long, long while
    from May to December….”

  • Please, Ephraim, you can’t compete with the Muffti on this one. Just ask the Poka Dot Bikini Top Yellow Bottom girl!

  • The Lord showed Himself a master of metaphor, I see, when He proffered y’all a land of milk and honey.

  • Does birthright has some kind of home base in Hod hasharon? i jsut saw a big welcome sign on my home town, and it not a tourist attraction, there problly is some kind of Birth right activity over there.

  • Clearly there is only one way to settle this. We’ll all stand equi distant from polka dot bikini yellow bottom girl and say things like ‘come here bikini yellow botto girl’ and see who she comes to. 🙂

    Muffti kids of course.

  • Why are there so many beautiful Jewish girls on your trip? And why can’t I find them in America?

  • Using “beautiful” and “jewish girl” in the same sentence is simply an exercise in redundancy.

  • Paul, Paul, Paul, go on the trip.

    It is the air. It clears YOUR EYES. The problem is in YOUR EYES.

  • (I’ll just be quiet and wait for other fellas to back me up here)

  • Paul, you can’t find them in America because 1. you’re hanging out in the wrong places, 2. there’s going to be a concentration of them on a Birthright trip, and 3. JM’s point about the air may actually be true – there is something about the air in Israel…


  • lol. I see that I’m not going to get any backup.

    Well, I will be taking a trip to the Middle East soon. Howbeit it will be many times longer than 10 days………and the girls won’t be nearly as beautiful…………..and they won’t be Jewish…….But 1 out of 4 is an improvement, no?

  • No.

    Go on the trip. It is free.

    I hope you are not too old. You can’t turn 27 during the trip.

    Be careful, will you?

  • lol….I’ve already been on a Birthright Israel a few years ago. Great trip and I wish that I could go again. Those counselors who get to go again are lucky.

    I’ve just turned 24, so I’m ancient compared to not only Israeli soldiers, but most American soldiers as well. So don’t worry about me. Anyways, isn’t that what Jewish mothers are good for 🙂

  • WOW….That Guy Gidon….nice very very nice….I’ll take one thank you very much.

  • Dear all,
    This is a Moroccan guy who love to be with Jews and Christian. I by my self a Moroccan Christian, I pray for Israel and I pray for the Jews and Arabs. I live in Morocco for a while but now I am in United State. I am looking to have my research done soon on cultural aspect in North African. Anyway, I only was searching the web and I found your blog, it is pretty cool to see Moroccan Jews are active as usual and I am proud of Moroccan Jews.