March 5-7

Well, I could really just call this post Day 7, since Day 8 was uneventful and pictureless. Oh well. I’ll tell you about both anyway.

Let’s start off with a picture from the super-eventful Day 7!

Everyone in front of a gorgeous view of Jerusalem.

Day 7 began at 6:00am with wakeup, a quick panic at the realization that I had to throw all my stuff in a backpack and get ready before 6:30, the annoyance of dragging my laundry down the road to drop it off for washing, and the rushed shoveling down of breakfast. Mmm…Toast and cottage cheese. We finally boarded the bus and headed to the Judean Mountains. Upon arrival we began our hike down the mountain, looking at the breathtaking view into the valley and admiring the ancient terraces that our ancestors once carved out of the mountain with bronze tools. Yossi then stopped the group in front of a water reservoir with a stone doorway into the side of the mountain. This was a cave dug straight into the mountain by the Jews of the past in oder to get the fresh water that dripped from within. They dug a small tunnel which ended in a larger opening that could be gotten to after climbing up a bit of the rock. Inside, they dug a sluice to carry their dripping spring water to the reservoir, giving them water atop this dry mountain. The group clambered into the cave and up into the opening where it was pitch black. We all fit in the space fairly comfortably and stood in a circle. Yossi instructed us to put our arms around each other and turn out all flashlights. It was so dark you couldn’t even see your own hand, yet I think we were all comforted by each other’s presence. We listened to the flowing water and Yossi began to speak. He told us of how these caves were dug, and how once they were finished they sand “Hineh Mah Tov,” and that we would do the same. We began our song in a normal tone which soon grew into a rumbling chorus as we reached the middle of the song. The sound vibrated and echoed around us as we shouted “Hiii-nay, mah tov! Shevet achim gam yachad!” I can still feel that amazing energy we had in that cave, and right now as I recall the event it makes me shiver.

Hiking down the mountain. Sitting in front of the cave entrance.

We managed to all make it out of the cave safely and hike back to the bus. Then Yossi told us to get ready for a quick stop because we were going to the MONSTER SLIDE (yay!). The Monster Slide is basically a giant monster head with three slides for tongues. We took a quick photo (after some words of encouragement from Yossi about what to do if any little kids got in our way) and got back on the bus.

MONSTER SLIDE! Us on the MONSTER SLIDE!

The bus stopped and before us we saw the most incredible view of Jerusalem from UN Hill. This was first time I had ever seen the city with my own eyes, and I was awestruck. It was truly amazing. We then headed to the Hezekiah Tunnels in Ir David (the City of David). There we went down a spiral staircase into a great stone room that was once the water system of ancient Jerusalem, where King David once had to sneak in order to take over the city, and where King Hezekiah built a tunnel to save the city from a siege. It was these tunnels that we sloshed our way through. We entered the tunnel singly file – there was just enough room for one person who wasn’t broad shouldered to fit (I’m sure there were some that had to walk sideways.) We waded into the water, which for a tiny bit was waist deep (as we expected it to be for the remainder of the walk), but soon became merely ankle depth as we continued. Apparently there was construction on the site and they jammed up some of the water flow, but I digress. We walked through this pitch-black tunnel with flashlights in hand for 30 minutes before reaching the other end 500 yards away. But that wasn’t the hard part; we had gone down a mountain while within, so we then had to hike back up, which was perhaps the most tiring part of the day.

An amazing view. On the way to the tunnels.

We changed clothing for the second time that day and walked to the old city, to the Kotel. For many of us this was our first visit to the Kotel, and although I personally was not moved, there were those who cried and prayed before the holy site. We wrote notes to stick in the very full cracks of the wall and many gave their tzedaka money from Simcha there. There will be more visits to the Kotel soon, and I will be sure to write more in depth about those visits, and hopefully get a guest writer to share their experiences (Micah has already volunteered to write soon, so if you’re bored of me please do not fret!).

Women praying in front of the Kotel. Amanda, Becca, and Raelle posing in front of the wall.

And just when you thought we couldn’t jam any more into this day, they piled us on the bus again and drove us to Ben Yehuda street. Normally Ben Yehuda street is a place for tourists, where most of the shopkeepers speak English and everyone pays too much money for everything. Today was not much of an exception, other than the fact that it was SHUSHAN PURIM! Within the walled cities, Purim is celebrated on Shushan Purim, which is the day after the, for lack of a better word, “normal” Purim. The street was jam packed and the local drunk chabad members were blasting Purim music and dancing in the square. I even saw some kids dressed as Tetris blocks (for those who don’t know me well, this excites me because I am a complete video game nerd)! Anyway, we paid for our tee-shirts and postcards and kippot and necklaces and Judaica and headed home for some much needed rest…But not before an invigorating game of Uno 🙂

Tetris! Ben Yehuda street.

Today, as I mentioned before, was pretty uneventful. We woke up early, had core class with Yossi, then had our other classes. It was nice to get to know our teachers a little better and understand more in depth what our classes would be like while we are here. It made me a bit more eager to attend, I will admit. After classes we had free time, where I end up here, yet again, writing about the day’s events. Before I conclude I will say that tomorrow will be uneventful, but the JDS kids are coming, so hopefully that will make the day a bit more exciting.

-Farewell, Jamie

 

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9 Responses to “March 5-7”

  1. Jennifer Sichel Says:

    jamie… i remember the exact same field trips from my HSI trip 7 years ago (yikes, i’m getting old)… singing in the dark cave an all. i guess it works for them. we’ll compare pictures.

    love the blog. but, most of all, i am SO GLAD that i have a moment by moment update about every israeli kid who’s ever dressed as anything remotely nintendo related. who needs CNN when the important news from the middle east is right here? seriously.

    love you.

    (love you too, nanny and grandpa!)

  2. Ellen Sichel Says:

    Thanks for the update kiddo. Really, I never knew you were a video game nerd … that is a very specific type of nerd. Is that the only type of nerd you are???

    I see you are in a hat in all of your pictures so I can stop any concern. Of couse from here there is not much I can do at all- so keep enjoying eveything and know that I am a bit jealous! By the way, the leather has been put away for a while! Love You, Mom

  3. Doryn Chervin Says:

    Jamie: Your descriptions are beautiful and really give us a sense of what you are experiencing. Thanks so much!

    Doryn

  4. Ms. Nation Says:

    Jamie: Your blog is so amazing! The pictures and your descriptions – WOW! One really gets a true feel for what you are doing over there. Thanks for your efforts with keeping up with your blog and thanks for sharing. Enjoy.

  5. Dana Huff Says:

    Hi Jamie! It’s great that you are keeping a blog. Of course, you chose the best blogging platform, too, and I wish I could flatter myself that it’s my influence. It’s great to see what you all are up to over there. I will link your blog from both the class blog that I keep for my students and their blog (Room 303 Blog). I will also link it from the section on the wiki I created for the seniors in Israel (huffenglish/Israel. You might let the others know that they have this space on the wiki. I’m sure my own senior students forgot, and I doubt the other seniors knew. Oh, and tell them to check in on their Metamorphosis wiki every once in a while and see who has visited! Tell everyone hello! Shalom!

  6. Dana Huff Says:

    Sorry to double post, but the link to the student blog doesn’t seem to be working. My 10th graders are blogging about Huck Finn over there, and they would probably love to have your input in the comments.

    http://students.huffenglish.com/.

  7. Aunt Barbara (your cool aunt!) Says:

    Whoa, Jame….”You da Man” I am so impressed with your writing, and with your keeping up with it…After day 2 I woulda been like “I’m outta here”
    And remind me to show you the photo of your mom and me at this same slide back in 1973…I wasn’t so cool back then….certainly never as cool as you are now!!
    Love you kiddo

  8. Grandpaverby Says:

    Hi Jamie seems like my connection is playing games. I may have posted half of my thoughts. Passover in Israel will be different than home. Your Mom told me that you would be at the Seder with a local family. I wish all of you a Happy Passover. Nanny and I love reading everything that you write. The pace of activities seems to be quite heavy but interesting.Sleep time is a needed commodity. We love you. Until tomorrow keep writing

  9. Grandpaverby Says:

    Jamie seems like I missed one posting. I am sorry. It seems like you are doing Israel in a big way. The group is not skipping a beat. Anything of interest you are taking us to and it makes us feel as though we are doing it with you. Jeniffer is living it all over again with you. So are Nanny and me. Love from both of us.

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