Dear Haim, After 20 hours of being awake, we finally made it home. All of us have jet lag and have been waking up at 3 in the morning. I just wanted to reiterate what we all told you when we said goodbye. The Kassoff Family had a wonderful 2 weeks and we have you to thank. We couldn't have asked for a better match and we are thrilled to have had the experience of seeing Israel through your wonderful and caring guidance. Shalom and thanks you, R. Kassoff Albany N.Y
I have finally caught up on my e-mail communication and I and extremely sorry for taking so long to send this letter. My family and I took a magnificent tour of Israel (June 2014). Words cannotdesc ribe the feelings I acquired from this experience. My son had his barmitzvah at the Kotel. It is an experience that can never duplicated. My husband and I have almost decided that making Aliyah is the way out life is turn. This entire experience was made possible from the warmth and loving feelings we received from Chaim Cohen. He is magnificent. His wealth of information for the state of Israel is insurmountable. We would never have had such a memorable time if it wasn't for Chaim. Words cannot express the feelings that Chaim gave to us. Our love for Israel has grown to such great heights because of the love he gave to my family. Thanks so much for making Israel such a magnificent dream come true. D. Rubenstein Phoenix Arizona
Dear Haim This is a belated "Thank You" for a the terrific experience I had being part of the Shanker Bar Mitzvah group.Your method of leading the group was very organized and informative! I have been to Israel many times and each new experience seems to over shadow what I did previously. I am not sure how to top the four days I spent with you. My wife Judy and I are trying to plan a trip to Israel in late 2013, but we don't have any timetable yet. I want to give the IDF another week and then be a tourist again. I also would like to take my wife Judy to the "dig" and let her experience that activity. I also showed Judy pictures I took at the Barakat store in the Old City. We definitely would like to return there to shop. I am not sure if you have any plans to be in the US. We live about 15 minutes from JFK Airport and you are always welcome to stay at our home. Let me know if New York is on your itinerary? Again, sorry for the late "thank you". Warm regards, A. S. Mintz N.J.
I felt very Jewish while I was in Israel By: Henry Pardo (Age 12), Cincinnati Ohio
My trip to Israel was an amazing experience. I took the trip with my sister Sophia my mom, my dad, and of course my grandmother, Nene (Lady D.). Our tour guide was named Haim Cohen. He could get us in anywhere, all he ever did was tell the guard he was Haim Cohen and the guard would say “Oh hay Haim haven’t seen you in a while.” And that happened so many times at so many different places I can’t even count. One time we went out to lunch in Caesarea and the tables were full, and we were afraid that Haim was going to tell the people at the table at the end of the restaurant to get up because we wanted to eat there. During the course of the ten-day trip I kept a journal of our daily adventures. Nene encouraged me to keep a journal so that when I get older and read it I’ll be able to say that the trip was really fun and how I remember the great experience. As I now read the journal I am reminded of how visiting Israel made me feel more Jewish. The first day, on our drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, I saw trucks from 1945 left behind from Jewish freedom fighters, who were just kids, fighting to protect their people. As a Jew, it made me very sad to think that Jewish kids were being killed, but I’m sure the thought would be sad for anybody. Later I went to the Western Wall and prayed. I folded up my wish and placed it in a crevice in the ancient wall. In every city and town we traveled we went to some good restaurants and the food was always fresh and healthy. We even went to an Israeli 'Kosher McDonalds'. Instead of a hamburger we ate a lambburger. We also road “Jewish” camels, according to Haim. After the ride we received “camel licenses”. On another day we went to the Dead Sea (did you know that the Dead Sea contains all of the minerals found on earth). On the way we hiked through Ein Gedi, where we saw beautiful water falls and fantastic views of the Dead Sea. We went up to Mesada, by cable car, Herod’s fortress where the Jews held off the Romans for three years before taking their own lives rather that becoming Roman slaves. Swimming in the Dead Sea was unlike any water I have ever been in. There was so much salt that you are not even supposed to put your face in the water. We saw someone reading a newspaper while floating on their back and posing for a camera, just to show that the water suspends you. That’s how much salt there is. We also went to Tel Aviv, where we visited the sight of the declaration of Israel as an independent nation in 1948. We went to Sfat where we saw 500 year-old torahs in beautiful old temples. We took a jeep tour up into the Golan Heights. We learned how an Israeli spy was sent to make a map of everything on the Golan Heights including Syrian enemy bunkers and hide-outs. So the Israeli spy planted eucalyptus trees next to every enemy bunker. As the enemy thought they were getting more cover, they were really being tracked down by the Israelis. On another excursion we parked outside the Old City of Jerusalem where we walked past the ancient mikvehs and in to the Jewish quarter where we shopped for my Bar Mitzvah tallit, kippah, and pointer. The to Israel trip made me proud to be Jewish. Everywhere I looked I saw trees that Israelis have planted in the dessert by developing irrigation systems, making the landscape lush and beautiful. Our Jewish sense of god and our relationship to the land is both strong and intertwined. I have a much deeper sense now of what it means to be Jewish and of my obligation to Israel.
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