On Saturday, the Sabbath, we finally had an opportunity to sleep in and rest multiple times during the day, as is typical for a Sabbath, the day or rest. The first two activities of the day were optional, namely breakfast and a beautiful 2 hour hike. Some decided to sleep, while most of us were up and excited to go hiking. After everyone had packed the bags and the donkeys and camels had drank water and everything was set for the journey, everyone gathered together to read the first part of a made up email conversation between a son and father. The son tells the father that he does not want to go to their synagogue for Yom Kippur this year, but rather wants to do a service with friends of his. The father wants to keep the tradition going and is worried about the synagogue that he and his fellows built in the past, but the son wants to have a more personal service, because he feels he will be able to connect better. In the end they agree that the son will come to their synagogue for Neilah and can bring all his friends and everyone is happy.
We at first read the first email and response of the son and father. Then we hiked through the Kibbutz and its fields and passed the border of the Kibbutz. Our goal was a crusaders cave on top of a hill. The cave was a great place to rest. It provided shade and was cool. After we had climbed into the cave, everyone sat down to read the rest of the email conversation between the son and father. The emails got people thinking and eager to express and discuss their thoughts. We discussed topics as the Jewish identity, the peoplehood of Jews and the different directions of Judaism.
Amidst the discussion I became aware of the topic we were talking about and the location we were at. 1000 years ago. There were men sheltering at the same location, with the goal of conquering Jerusalem and everything on their way and their approach was brutal. And now, a group of Jews are sitting and discussing topics regarding the Jewish state, Israel. A tingling thought.
Once we had recharged in the cave we made our way back. We had time to shower and to do some “shnatz” (nap) before we had lunch. After lunch we had more time to rest, or to hang out. Some went to sleep again, some played basketball and some played “Durak”, a Russian card game that became very popular over the trip.
We ended the trip with a session prepared by some to the Technion students about an Israeli song and a Jewish American song (that was translated) that addressed topics regarding Jewish identity, which was followed by a havdala ceremony, which is the ceremony that concludes the Sabbath.
When we left the Kibbutz, everyone was a bit sad, because the two groups really were able to connect and enjoy each other’s company (by the end everyone had gotten new nicknames!), but excited at the same time for the party hosted at one of the Technion student’s home.
The party was a lot of fun for everyone. We talked, we laughed and sat together in one big circle, while eating pizza at first and then “noshing” some typical Israeli snacks, like “Bamba” and “Bissli”. After the party each of us went to stay over at one of the Technion student’s places. Sadly most of us were too exhausted to do anything anymore, once they arrived at their host’s places (except for one pair, who gathered the energy to play pool for half the night).
All in all, this day was really the day that brought everyone closer and got us to really connect. Very successful.
-David Wyrobnik ’15
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