March 29-31, April 1-2

Okay, so, I know I’ve been a slacker, but in my defense I was unable to post last shabbat, and spent the majority of my time yesterday writing about Gadnah (speaking of which I will try to add pictures to that post tonight).

So, gimme a break. Anyway, onto the post!

So high up!

So, the day after Gadnah. Thankfully we didn’t have to sit through classes, or I believe I might have collapsed. Instead we did something more tiring but less boring – we went to Ayalon, the site of an underground bullet factory, Castle hill, and Letrun, a tank museum.

Our first stop was Ayalon, where we had a class with Yossi about the origins of Israel as an independent state. We discussed a two-state solution and the Balfur Declaration, and talked about British rule over Israel, and how underground organizations like the Irgun and Haganah got ammunition. The answer was a bullet factory run by the hard-working kibbutzniks in Israel. The kibbutz workers and Haganah created a bullet factory under Ayalon, a training kibbutz for future workers. This kibbutz, however, was right next to a railroad and right next to a British base. So why put it there? Well, the last place the British would look is right under their noses. The noise of the bullet machines was covered up by washing machines, and the smoke from the factory was covered by a bakery. The kibbutz washed clothes and baked bread for the entire town – that way they always had an excuse to be doing both activities. It was a very successful operation, both in the sense that they made many bullets, and also because they were never caught. It was fun to literally go underground and see how well these people covered their operation.

At the bullet factory. David and his papier mache clone!

We had class on top of Castle mountain, where we were told many war stories and about the strategy of the spot in relation to Jerusalem. It was a beautiful day out, thankfully. Next we went to Letrun, a tank museum. Ofir, our madrich, who was in the tank corp as a driver, told us all about his model tank, including how to get on, and when not to pee off of it. Apparently he really had to go but the tank was feet deep in mud – he forgot to make sure that the rest of his unit wasn’t watching. We took photos in the tanks, on the tanks, and on top of the artillary. I got the uncontrollable urge to fire one of those tank canons – an M-16 ain’t nothing compared to that!

David admiring the view at Castle. In a tank!

That evening we just chilled out and relaxed. Tomorrow would also prove to be a relaxing day, as we would be spending the weekend at Ein Gedi having a very-much-needed restful shabbat. First we had classes on Friday, through which I slept, as I was feeling a bit under the weather, and from what I heard was not the only one. I guess Gadnah was tiring for a lot of us. Then, finally, once we were done with our studies we hopped on the bus, watched Catch Me If You Can and Almost Famous, and arrived at Ein Gedi. We hung out, ate, played some games as a group, and star gazed. Finally it was bed time, and we had some much needed rest.

Kissy kissy. smile!

That morning there was an optional breakfast, but due to the hostel’s rules, they were already kosher for Pesach. That meant that breakfast consisted of matzah, chocolate spread, cheese, and other schmears. Although grudgingly, I started noshing on the matzah, knowing full well I would be sick of it far too soon just in time for Pesach. So, we ate and got ready for a hike to the Ein Gedi falls. For the afternoon we splashed around with lots of naked Israeli toddlers and saw some very questionable bathing suit choices from adult male Israelis. After our hike/swim, we went back for some more hanging out time, played cards, and more importantly, napped or found out about college acceptances. Eventually it was time to head home, so we snapped a few photos of the view, finished Almost Famous on the bus, and continued by watching Van Wilder, which was quite humorous. Once home we went to sleep – only to be woken up by JDS at 1:30am when they decided to yell and scream despite multiple requests for them to stop and desist by yours truly and Ofir…well, sort of that, but not quite as nice.

At Ein Gedi! Max under the fall!

Sunday we had classes. Bleh. I’m ready to get those over with, most definitely. After classes, parents came to pick up their kids for seders while others left to go to relatives’ for the 10 day vacation. Not everyone left Sunday, however, and about 10 of us remained on campus until today (Monday). That evening some of the crew went to Raanana, while me, Adam, Jeremy, and Max went to the park to eat cheap pastries and chat. We played cards and hung out, waiting eagerly for today when we would all leave for our host families’ houses. Right now, as I type, I am using the Shillers’ internet connection and watching tv, chatting with Becca E and Amanda, about to get ready for our seder. I can’t wait – if the food is half as good as our small lunch this afternoon, it will be AMAZING. I have no pictures of the house at the moment, but fear not, you shall get them. Right now you’ll have to settle for pictures of Cooper, the adorable kitty cat.

Cooper #1 Cooper #2

-Jamie out.

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4 Responses to “March 29-31, April 1-2”

  1. Ellen Sichel Says:

    Thanks for the updates. Even though I speak with you a lot, I look forward to your writing. I do not see sny adorable kitty pictures unless I am loosing my mind (always a possibility!). Sedar was not the same without you. Love, Mom

  2. Steve Chervin Says:

    Our first seder ever without Micah, and I’m sure all of us parents missed you all very much. But we’re thrilled you get to celebrate in Israel, and say l’shana haba’a b’yerushalyim ha’bnuyah (next year in Jerusalem the rebuilt). Thanks to Cheri and Brandon Levitan and their family for hosting Micah. Chag Sameach.

  3. yazi Says:

    james, i miss you dearly. i’m glad to hear you are keeping an eye out for my man, i’ve been enjoying the posts and pics on f-book a lot since Max doesn’t have anything to share. i hope your spring break is going great and that your passover was amazing!

  4. Grandpaverby Says:

    It is Sunday April 7. The last post I saw was April 2. Did I miss something?

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