On the flight from Toronto to Frankfurt, when the pilot announced to fasten seatbelts for takeoff I started tearing up. It finally started to hit me that I was leaving behind 18 years of living at home, 18 years of relying on my parents and 18 years of amazing memories. However I also realized that in front of me was 9 months of finding out who I am as a person, 9 months of amazing adventures and memories and friends waiting to be made.
When we landed in Tel Aviv and everyone got their luggage we drove to a look out on the way to Beit Nativ where we could see the old city of Jerusalem and the new modern of city of Tel Aviv and more. It was nice to see the big picture of where my home was going to be for the next 9 months. After a light dinner it was time to unpack and try and get a good night sleep.
Thursday was a day of getting to know the area around Beit Nativ with a 1 ½ hour walking tour and icebreakers. That evening we had an orientation for Yeshiva and got to pick our classes and had a BBQ in a nearby park.
Friday was pretty intense with a 2 hour hike around the area in and around Jerusalem. It was a really nice hike seeing the natural caves and waterfalls. At times it was hard but my friends helped me through and we were 'rewarded' with lunch at the Harel Mall. It was then back to Beit Nativ to get ready for our first Shabbat in Israel. For Kabbalat Shabbat we walked over to Yemin Moshe and davened overlooking the old city which I felt was a beautiful way to start Shabbat and the year ahead of us.
Shabbat morning I davened at Shira Hadasha which is an Orthodox minyan in the sense that there is a Mehitzah, however women are allowed to have aliyot, lead the Torah service and more. It was defiantly a very interesting service but for sure one that I would love to go back to. Motzei Shabbat, we got to a soccer game- Israel vs. Latvia for the FIFA 2010 World cup qualifying round. Despite it being a great experience seeing an Israeli soccer game Israel lost 1-0.
Sunday was the first day of classes at Yeshiva. Until December I will be taking: Talmud, Mishna, Midrash, Pirki Avot, Chumash, Contemporary Issues in Halacha, Ulpan, and Modern Jewish Thought. The first was good, got to meet lots of new people but at the same time it was very exhausting being back at school especially on a Sunday. I cannot wait to start the rest of my classes at the Yeshiva and the Shabbaton this weekend.
So this has been just the beginning of an amazing time and I want to hear from all of you back home about what has been going on in your lives.
P.S. I have not been that good about taking pictures but I will try and put some up soon when I do take some.