Okay, let me first address the issue of pictures. See, folks, my laptop decided it no longer could deal with the life it was blessed with and…well…blue screened on me. So, I am in the process of commissioning a friendly JDSer to fix it for me 🙂 In the mean time, however, I am not uploading any pictures. Hopefully soon they will be up and happy. I will also soon post the links to some of the albums where my pictures are.
Anyway, post time.
This weekend was a free weekend. We sat around being lazy, went to the beach where it was SUPER WINDY, and some of us even slept the whole time due to feeling under the weather. The waves on the beach are insane.
So, after our weekend we headed to Sar-El again on Sunday. We spend the second half of the day doing our volunteer work and then in the evening went to a Yom HaZikaron ceremony. The mood was definitely sombre all around, a mood which I believe was amplified due to us being surrounded by an entire army base. We arrived at a memorial dedicated to fallen soldiers and were told to get in lines of three and form and giant chet with the rest of the base. We were immersed with the other soldiers as we raised and lowered the flag, heard poetry and songs, and read off the names of all the members of the base who had fallen in battle. A few of the soldiers even had to leave the formation in order to shed tears for their friends. It was quiet and still all around for the siren that pierced the air. Cars stopped, everyone stood, silent, statue-esque, no one spoke a word. An entire nation of people, for that minute, was silent. It was pretty amazing. After the ceremony we went back to the base, had our free time, and went to bed.
The next morning there was no work. Instead we went to another ceremony which was very similar to the one the night before. It was the middle of the day and extremely hot – several soldiers fainted, and I had to sit aside in the shade so the same fate would not befall me. This ceremony was also very meaningful, and as I sat next to my madrich I couldn’t help watching for his reactions during the ceremony. It amazed me that during moments of silence even the people who were standing out of eyesight from the formation and horse-playing during the ceremony stood completely quiet and still. During Hatikvah our entire group sang, and there was a pretty strong feeling of unity all around. After this ceremony we went back to the base, had lunch, and headed home to the Hod.
Once we arrived in Hod HaSharon it was clear the mood of the day was already shifting. Once night fell it was time for Yom HaAtzmaut – Independence Day! As we drove into town there were streamers everywhere waving in the wind. A group of us walked into town to get some food and at all the kiosks you could see giant spitsof shwarma, much larger than usual, beginning to cook – in the back another giant spit was being packed, getting ready to roast. Fresh pitas were baking, candy was being put out, and more people than usual were wearing blue and white. That evening we went to a giant festival in the center of town. After a 30 minute walk, complete with singing and dancing and almost being hit by a car (don’t worry, my cat-like reflexes saved me), we arrived at the festival. On the street corners they were selling head antennas, blinking necklaces, squeaky inflatable hammers, and annoying shaving cream spray that every 13-year-old just loves to buy. Once inside the actual festival it was quite overwhelming. Swarms of people everywhere all around you, yelling in Hebrew and dancing. There was a band playing in the center and food stands all around – some people enjoyed a hot dog that had far too much bun, and I treated myself to a slushi. There were even churros there, just like at home! Unfortunately, no funnel cake was to be found, although the candied apples and cotton candy were plentiful. We sat and talked and walked, and toward the end of a night a band called Synergia played – they’re pretty popular here, although I think the consensus of the grade was that they…well, sucked. Not only that, but they yelled “Happy 58th year of independence!” when, as the GIANT SIGN behind them read “YEAR 59!” Oh well, silly them, I guess 🙂 We walked around and finally decided to walk back to campus at about 1:00am. All of us sprinted the last few yards as our bladders were near explosion, and Jeremy kept mentioning something about “shilshul.” You figure it out. We went to bed, extremely exhausted, ready for a fun day when we woke up.
Today was a late wake up, 10:00am – yay! We woke up and went straight to the beach, where we tanned and played in the ocean. The waves this time were CRAZY. The current was pulling and the waves were bullying and I was being tossed all over the place. Daniel and Jared successfully angered a life guared when they kept ignoring his whistles, and Jeremy and I enjoyed an amazing pint of Ben & Jerry’s sorbet. Mmmm. Finally we came back to Hod HaSharon, showered, napped, did all of those wonderful things, and at 6:00 it was time for a Bar-B-Que! The food was pretty good, with burgers and dogs and chicken and fries. We ate and chatted and then at 6:30 a group of us went to have a nice phone call with the school. Hi guys! We sat in a room and answered questions and got to talk to Simcha 🙂 We miss you guys!
And now I have about five minutes to go and pack before I head back to Sar-El for a few days. I’ll see what I can do about those pictures, and I’ll post upon my return.