Today is May 28th. Tomorrow is May 29th. May 29th is the day we leave Israel.
Thursday night our grade got a special treat. We finally got some Israeli culture and went to Mayumana, which is basically the Israeli version of Stomp. It was so much fun, and the cast was incredibly talented. One of the guys even did Capoeira, but not the kind you might have seen at school. This was super-fast awesomely cool acrobatic thing. I guess you had to be there. Anyway, after the show everyone was ranting about how fun it was while we got on the bus and went back to campus.
Friday morning we got up early for a day of fun in Tel Aviv. We went to Meir Dizengoff’s house and learned about the founding of Israel and Tel Aviv. After a morning of learning it was time for some shopping – we went to Nachalat Benyamin and Shenkin Street. Not to give anything away, but I’ll venture a guess and say almost everyone bought a gift.
Friday afternoon means getting ready for Shabbat. This Shabbat, other than being the last we would spend in Israel, was special. We had a guest, Rabbi Akiva Gersh and wife and son, stay with us. Although not the most dazzling Shabbat I’ve had, it was certainly spiritual and very fun. We sang songs, heard many good stories, and had a really fun Havdalah. Not only that, but May 26th was Rebecca Greenhaulgh’s 18th birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Becca’s mom was so generous and got us a Henna tattoo stand and pizzas to enjoy – I think nearly everyone got a tattoo that they’ll be more than happy to show off to you once we get home (although you might have to ask Noah to show you his in private). After a nice shabbos it was time for a party! We all sat at a giant table, ate delicious desserts (including fondue), watched a slideshow of us on the trip, and even heard a song written by a few of the guys. After dessert we headed into the basement for a fortune telling. Our madrichim dressed as fortune tellers and told us our futures. Apparently I’m to be the future Mrs. Micah Chervin, but after that marriage doesn’t work out he will divorce me for model Bar Refaeli while I marry Joel and we start a modeling magazine. That’s okay – Jared’s going to be a kindergarten teacher who follows the Shining Happiness teachings of Jeremy Cherson. Oh, and Matt’s involved in multiple catastrophic events. I guess I have it good.
Anyway, after Shabbat we all started really packing our bags and getting ready for an overnight tiyul – Sunday morning we headed out to the Golan. In the morning we went to several sites and learned about Eli Cohen, one of the greatest spies to exist. He successfully infiltrated the Syrian government and nearly became their next President before he was discovered, tortured, and eventually executed. His efforts, however, allowed Israel to win the Six Day War. Quite amazing, actually. After learning about Israel’s own Internation Man of Mystery we headed to the Jordan River for a little kayaking. Apparently we all have some pent up frustration toward one another, because the entire hour we had a giant war on the river. We were split into two’s – each pair had a raft, and instead of going down the river nice a slow-like we were boarding each other’s crafts and splashing like no other. At one point Amanda and I even beached our boat in order to wait for the slowpokes so we could ambush them. It was a lot of fun and the river was beautiful. Once done with out aquatic adventure we made our way to an army outpost up north. There we learned about APCs and even looked over the border at Hezbollah trucks. It was at that point that I realized how truly close danger is to Israel, and it was scary.
After our action-packed day we retired to Kibbutz Yahel, which has the most amazing meals. We ate a delicious dinner and I played with some kittens before going to bed. This morning we awoke to eat an almost as delicious breakfast. We went first to Oaz 77 – the memorial site for Avigdor Kahalani’s tank battalion that single handedly fended off the entire Syrian army during the Six Day War. Toward the end of the battle all seemed lost; only 8 Israeli tanks remained to face Syria’s 750. 8 tanks meant 40 shells, and even though it seemed like suicide to even try and stand against this massive force, Kahalani talked his soldiers into going forward. The tanks fired 40 shots and hit 40 Syrian tanks. Syrian tank 41, seeing 40 direct hits, turned and began to run. As a result, the remainder of the army followed suit. After discussing the battle at the site at which it took place, we headed to a nearby kibbutz to watch a movie on the subject. After the film Yossi sat us outside and we discussed what we gained from this three month experience. The consensus seemed to be a great love for the Jewish homeland.
Now we are here, back on campus. I have yet to begin packing. Tomorrow we go to Jerusalem then head to the airport for our 11:40 flight to Atlanta. Wow. My next and final post will be Wednesday or Thursday. It is then that I will discuss the program overall and share some more intimate feelings and ideas with you all.
I look forward to seeing everyone, and I really truly greatly appreciate everyone who’s taken the time to read this for three months.