Noam Benjamin,19, of West Hartford spent Purim in Israel delivering sweets and other treats to children at the Tel Hashomer Hospital near Ramat Gan. After hearing the megillah read on the campus of nearby Bar Ilan University, Benjamin joined a group of 25 students, clad in costumes and armed with an assortment of treats, in visiting the hospital’s Children’s Ward. When they were done, the students stopped by the neighboring city of B’nei Brak where they gave tzedaka.
Noam is among 90 participants on the Israel XP program at Bar Ilan University, in which students spend their mornings in Jewish study seminars and afternoons taking academic courses at the university’s Ramat Gan campus, with credits they earn transferable to universities in North America.
“Going to the hospital on Purim day was a great way to put smiles on all those kids faces.
It was also great being able fulfill the mitzvah of mishloach manot,” said Benjamin, who dressed up as a basketball player for the day. “Purim in Israel was a one of a kind experience. Seeing the whole country transform into the Purim spirit was truly something special that can’t be duplicated anywhere else.”
A graduate of West Hartford’s Hall High School, Benjamin expects to return to the States next year to study business administration at Temple University in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, he is continuing to get the most out of his Israel experience.
“The highlight of the year so far has been camping out in front of the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron for Parsha Chayei Sarah or saying slichot at the Kotel with thousands of other Jewish people,” he says. “I enjoy all the trips and I am especially grateful to the dedicated staff who put so much hard work in making this program what it is.”
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