Dor L'Dor '24 | Week 1 | One Dor L'Dor

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Shabbat Shalom from Portugal!

It was just a few days ago that we arrived in Portugal excited and nervous, three different camps on two different planes.  And here we are now, celebrating the first Shabbat of DLD 2024! Each day, as we explored Portugal with activities in Lisbon, Sintra, and Porto, we could feel the teens becoming more settled and more comfortable. While expected, it still amazes me how quickly our teens are becoming one Dor L’Dor.

Upon arriving in Lisbon, we met at a park for ice breakers before checking into our nearby hostel. We returned to the park after dinner for orientation and family group meetings. Family groups are small groups of about 8 teens from a mix of the camps led by one counselor. These groups stay consistent throughout the trip and meet regularly to  provide an opportunity for reflection, discussion and activities in an intimate family-like environment. After a long night/day of travel (and missing a night of sleep), everyone went to bed early to prepare for Tuesday’s adventures!

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We met up with a local tour guide to begin our first adventure as a group on Tuesday morning.  We did a walking tour of Jewish Lisbon and stopped at the Memorial to the Lisbon Pogrom of 1506 in Rossio Square. We had lunch in a food court at a local mall before returning to the hostel for rest time, dinner, and an evening activity. The hostel’s patio became a gathering place for our teens to play board games, hang out with their friends, and start meeting new friends.

 

On Wednesday, we toured the Pena National Palace in Sintra, where we learned about its history, interesting architecture, and had spectacular views of the village below. We had lunch at a nearby park and walked around the village of Sintra.  We then returned to Lisbon, where we enjoyed free time to shop and eat before returning to the hostel.

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On Thursday, we said goodbye to Lisbon and boarded the buses for the three hour ride to Porto.  After checking into our hotel (which is very nice), we enjoyed a very scenic and relaxing cruise down the Douro River. We were joined by Yitzhak Sokoloff, the Founder and President of Keshet Educational Journeys, who was so impressed with the warmth and curiosity of our teens! We had a little bit of time to walk around the riverfront area before returning to the hotel for dinner and the evening program. 

 

 

Thursday night’s evening program focused on the personal impact of October 7 on our staff.  Staff shared their unique stories and gave tribute to Hersh Goldberg-Polin, a DLD 2017 Israeli teen participant who is a hostage in Gaza, Shauli Greenglick, a DLD 2023 counselor who was killed in December in Gaza while fighting with the IDF, Yakir Tatelbaum, a DLD 2018 Israeli teen participant who was killed last week in Gaza while fighting with the IDF, and Omer Shem Tov, a close friend of one of our Cohen Camps counselor who is a hostage in Gaza. The program was powerful and inspirational and the teens shared the incredible impact this program had on them. It set the tone for this important month-long Jewish journey through Portugal and Spain.

 

Friday morning we had a walking tour of Porto, followed by lunch in a very nice food court. I have never seen such a huge variety of empanadas!  We then visited Livraria Lello, a bookstore that is believed to be the inspiration for J.K. Rowling’s writing of Harry Potter. After a busy day, we headed back to the hotel to prepare for Shabbat.

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Once everyone was ready for Shabbat, we met on the Hotel patio, where everyone took their Shabbat pictures with the Porto landscaping providing a beautiful backdrop. We then distributed their Shabbat letters and gave them time to read the good wishes from their parents and think about the meaning of this trip. Yes, there were many tears! We then traveled to the Holocaust Museum of Porto and learned about the Portuguese Jewish Community. The teens were engaged and asked great questions about Jewish Portugal. They were fascinated that in the middle of Portugal there was a museum dedicated to the Holocaust. We were welcomed into the Kadoorie Synagogue, a local orthodox synagogue for Shabbat services. Following services, we had a very festive meal at a kosher restaurant, before walking back to the hotel, where the teens enjoyed an impromptu camp style shira on the hotel patio.

Tomorrow’s Shabbat services will be led by our teens. In previous summers, Dor L’Dor teens celebrated Shabbat at three different camps, each using the same Cohen Camps Siddur. This summer, they will pray and sing together, with both shared traditions and individualized styles, creating a unique DLD Shabbat experience. After a busy week, we are all looking forward to a relaxing Shabbat at the hotel.

The DLD teens started the week as Camp Pembroke, Camp Tel Noar, and Camp Tevya, and as I write this, I am reflecting on how quickly they have become Dor L’Dor 2024. They came together on their own tonight, sitting in a big circle to sing, talk, and laugh.  And as I watched and listened, I couldn’t help but think, this feels like camp – only in Portugal!

Wishing all of you a Shabbat Shalom,

Mindee

Dor L'Dor '24 | Week 1 | One Dor L'Dor

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