On the Shores of Lake Garda

Thanks to adrenaline, many shots of espresso and pure excitement, we have managed to have a wonderful day despite having slept less than three hours. After a smooth, but lengthy flight, we landed in the beautiful city of Milan. From there, we met up with our enthusiastic tour guide Markus, who took us to beautiful Sirmione, the pearl of the Lake Garda region, where we began our adventure. The lighthouse in Desenzano Upon arrival we marveled at the incredible architecture of the Rocca Scaligera castle that sits picturesquely on the shores of Lake Garda. The castle, which once was known for its...

….and we’re off!

After shuffling through security at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, all 34 travelers are excited to get to Italy. We have filled up on bagels and coffee as we anxiously await our first flight to Newark. Kristin Miller, Jen Paglio and I are sitting here brushing up on our Italian. Did you know “ a presto ” means “catch you later?” A Presto! Julie DiBiasio Italy, here we come!

Conquering Construction

We came, we saw, we conquered. Construction that is! On our final day at the site, we split up again. Most of the girls went to a new site and had the opportunity to perfect the art of hammering nails – something we learned a few days earlier. In fact, we set up all interior walls of a house! The boys and one lone girl stayed at the second site, setting up the frame of the roof for the home they were working on. We were sad to leave our newly made friends from the construction site. The crew has been outstandingly helpful to us in this endeavor. It honestly would have been impossible to have...

15 Minutes of Fame

Doing good deeds helps you get to good places in life. It can help you land a nice job in a good location, for example. Or it can provide you with the best reward that can come from volunteering – the satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment in seeing your actions make a difference in someone’s life. Well, today it also got us our 15 minutes of fame. This morning a camera man filming for the YMCA came into our room and followed us through our routine of getting ready, packing and loading the vans. He then followed us to the work site and filmed parts of our daily safety meeting. Some of the...

A Job Well Done

Excitement and work had us scampering throughout the city of Lake Worth today, as we faced new challenges and tasks. Not only did we scale roof tops and collect trash, we were also able to finish setting up the walls to the new abode we are constructing. This allowed us to start putting up plywood. We were able to develop and strengthen our arm muscles as much of the day consisted of hammering nails through inches of wood and concrete. Although the relentless sun beat down on us, we worked through the grueling conditions. Covered in dirt and dust, and with blisters starting to grow on our...

Getting to Work

Today was our first day of real work! Sure, the road trip down to Florida had its challenges, but we managed to overcome those obstacles and reach our destination safe and sound. Our initial day at the construction site, on the other hand, could have been a completely different story. We took our challenges with grace and diligence throughout the day, knocking down any tasks that were given to us. During the early portion of the morning, the majority of the group picked up some pails and paint brushes, going to work on the sides and under the roof. The rest of us walked across the street to...

Coming Together for a Purpose

Early Saturday morning, we, the Notre Dame College students volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in West Palm Beach, Fla., this week, scurried away from the bitterly cold weather of Cleveland and fled south in search for something more than warm temperatures, sunny days and beautiful beaches. After all, if we learned anything from last year’s trip to Jacksonville, it was that Florida’s weather is perfectly capable of mimicking Cleveland’s. We came here for a much greater purpose. We came here to help build a home for people less fortunate than us. West Palm Beach’s pleasant weather is a nice...

Photos Tell their Own Story

Below are some photos of recent trips we've taken and things I've seen. This is an 18-year-old soldier ready to jump into the emergency medical vehicle. Israel uses the red/white Star of David symbol instead of the Red Cross. These soldiers go to any accident or shooting. We met them at a rest stop. This is the big Jerusalem farmers' market, which is packed on Friday afternoons because everyone is buying food for shabbat dinner. You could hardly pass down the narrow aisle. I lost my small bag of figs somewhere and realized it only back at the hotel. Dead Sea beauty products are a big thing...

The Many Forms of Jewish Resistance

I’ve asked myself many times, “Didn’t the Jews resist what Hitler was doing to them? Surely millions of people could have done more to stop the genocide.” One thing I didn’t realize was that most Germans didn’t care what happened to the Jews. Many Catholics in Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania hated Jews and actually murdered their own Jewish neighbors when Hitler took over their countries. So it was a terrible time for Jews all over Eastern Europe. Of course, there were some who helped Jews. At least 23,000 who we know about. But that’s a small number relative to millions of people who did...

Could the Jews Have Escaped?

I’ve always wondered if the Jews could have escaped from the Nazis. I think a lot of people would ask this same question. Several of our scholars have touched on the answer, and then I found a resource here in Jerusalem that gave more ways to answer it. Here are some ways the Jews DID try to escape and what happened. Remember, it’s a complicated question and I don’t pretend to have all the answers here. There’s a related question that I’ll answer in a later blog, “Did the Jews resist?” Yes, there were periods early during Hitler’s regime when it was possible for some to escape. It was easier...



May 24
4:00 AM
Thursday May 24, 4:00am
E.g., 06/24/18
E.g., 06/24/18