March 19-21

Wow, three days seems like such a long time. Sorry for not updating sooner, everyone.

Let’s see, let’s see…what did we do these past three days?

Adam playing guitar?

Let’s see now…where’d I leave off? Ah, yes, Zionism. So, we spent the evening writing skits, summaries, and songs. As you can probably tell by the picture above, Adam Levinson toiled for hours working on our group’s 100% original ditty. But seriously, it was pretty awesome. So awesome, in fact, I’ve had the damn thing stuck in my head since our presentations. We were divided into four groups: Rav Kook, Teddy Hertzl, A.D. Gordon, and Ze’ev Jabotinsky. There were game shows, amazing movie scripts, and sing-a-longs – I suppose if you’ve gotta learn you might as well make it interactive and fun. We then had classes (boo!) and free time, where some of us spent the evening being productive and coming up with yearbook superlatives 🙂

Yesterday we went on a tiyul. We drove up to Tel Chai to learn about HaShomer, the grandfather of the modern day Tzahal, or IDF. HaShomer was a group of Jews who decided that they wanted to defend other Jews from persecution and take the law into their own hands since otherwise the Jews would just be massacred or have their land stolen. We watched a movie on the subject, then headed outside to learn some self defense of our own in the form of…BOXING!

Zionism presentation. More Zionism projects.

Wow boxing is fun! We first learnt the proper stance. After we mastered that, we went straight on to left jabs. Remember, breathe out of your nose quickly when you jab! Soon we were so good we moved onto a right punch…which we weren’t allowed to use lest we give our opponent a bloody nose. We practiced petting away an oncoming jab, and in no time we were ready to box. The match-ups were: Brandon vs. Lewis, Me vs. Amanda, Jacob vs. Adam, Daniel vs. Eli, Becca vs. Becca, Micah vs. Jeremy, Carly vs. Raelle, Jared vs. Max, Matt vs. David, and Noah vs. Tomer. Needless to say, I beat everyone up. Seriously, they were all lying sprawled out on the grass because I was so fierce. I swear I’m not fabricating anything.

Lew about to land a punch. Adam and Jacob looking fierce.

Carly and Raelle striking a pose. Daniel doing...something?  I don't really know if that's boxing, Daniel.

We then drove over to the Lebonese border to go for a hike. A few of the boys decided to show their respect to the country through the fence beforehand, and on we went. It was pretty nice outside, but the real beauty was in the scenery. The view was amazing, the flowers were gorgeous, and the waterfalls were…wet. Nah, they were awesome. After our hike we had a nice deli meat lunch and went to our next destination.

The boys in front of the waterfall.

We arrived at a cemetery right on the Kineret where Rachel the Poetess is buried. We took a quick stop in front of Naomi Shemer’s grave (author of “Yerushalayim shel Zahav”) before settling down around Rachel’s grave. We spoke about heroism, how Rachel gave up her dream of becoming an artist to help serve an orphanage. Unfortunately, she would contract tuburculosis and would be forced to live in solitude in Tel Aviv for the rest of her life. She loved the land and loved Israel and people, so she dedicated the rest of her life to poetry. She wrote while she was confined, and inspired countless amounts of people, some of whom were buried nearby after making aliyah. We discussed what makes a hero, and what heroic qualities we have. It’s nice to have discussions like that that really make you think. After that bit of down time we quietly got back on the bus, watched a movie (Princess Bride and Spaceballs; did you know that “Nurit” in English translates to “Buttercup”? We got a kick out of it since our madricha’s name is Nurit – I now like to call her “Princess Buttercup”), and went to sleep after a long day.

Naomi Shemer's grave. Rachel the Poetess's grave.

Good morning again! After a panicked wake-up and quick shower, I ran to breakfast, ate some delicious chocolate and vanilla crispy thingie cereal, and went to go get some money out for banking. After taking out a small fortune* (*read: few shekels) we went to our classroom to listen to a speaker who was a Holocaust survivor and editor for a major newspaper. With sense of humor in tact and an amazing vocabulary despite English being his sixth language, he told us his story and answered some questions. After that we went straight to Yad VaShem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum. We took a 2 hour tour (and no, we didn’t get stranded on any islands), and although I didn’t much care for our tour-guide, I really did like the museum. Some rooms, of course, were more meaningful to me than others. It was appalling to see some of their films – two in particular really struck me. The first was of a group of Nazis lining Jews up and then shooting them right there, on tape. You’d see them standing there, some smoke, and they’d fall. It’s scary when you know those are real people who really just died. The next video that was striking was that of a bulldozer pushing the skeleton-like bodies of concentration camp victims into a pit where more bodies lay. It’s impossible to see the magnitude of an event like the Holocaust, but sometimes, when you see some of these shocking things, you get a quick glimpse, a shiver, and a gasp when you realize for just a fleeting moment what your mind cannot comprehend, and then it’s gone. The last stop in the building, the remembrance room, is a giant circular room lined with records of all the known names of the victims of the Holocaust. In the center is a large pit, and if you look up there are faces to some of the millions of names. The room is silent, and not cold, and not dry, but not humid or warm, either. I can’t even describe how the room felt, but the feeling definitely reflected the room. We then went through the children’s memorial, a big dark room with mirrors and five candles which create the illusions of thousands of candles surrounding you. As you walk through, a soothing feminine voice read off the names and ages of the known children victims. We finally and pretty quietly boarded the bus for our ride home…but of course not without a movie.

Right now we’re in the middle of Shaft, who is one badass mother f—

Nevermind. I can dig it.

-Jamie

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5 Responses to “March 19-21”

  1. Grandpaverby Says:

    Jamie Nanny and I keep reading everything you post. The history of Israel is awsome. Learning about the past is one thing. Look at what they are accomplishing today. We love you.

  2. Miss Vann Says:

    Jah-me,

    Thanks for posting the happy, smiley visage of Adam: what a happy guy. I miss him terribly, along with the rest of y’all. Be good, keep boxing, and tell all “hi.”

  3. Jenn Sichel Says:

    jamie lynn…

    love you, love your blog. people are starting to love you more and more with each entry. i think you’ve figured out a new way to ingratiate yourself to the whole world. keep it up.

    peace in the middle east.

  4. Rachael Says:

    Will you teach me to box when you get home?
    They are teaching y’all to be so violent in Israel. First boxing then gun shooting! Should I fear for my life?

  5. Rise Arkin Says:

    Jamie,
    I read your blog for the first time today. Wow! Yad Vashem and the graves of Rachel and Nomi Shemer had profound effects on me. I was also moved by the films from Yad Vashem, particularly the film that traces one man as he is moved from his home to a ghetto and then to a concentration camp. Keep soaking in all that Israel has to offer.
    Love always,
    Rise

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