Friday, January 8, 2010

נס גדול היה פה (A Great Miracle Happened Here)

The first week in December for 3 days the Yeshiva held an Agents of Change program. The purpose of the program was to teach as about various social and political issues in Israel. Therefore there were two sessions where we looked at some issues such as refugees. Then that Sunday we travelled to Tel Aviv where we got to meet with some change makers and hear how they implemented change when they saw a problem such a hunger, or underprivileged and under-educated children and how they brought about change. In the afternoon we got a chance to go to one of the fields used by Table to Table and pick clementines which were given the next day to those in need. I found that I did not get much of the program but I did enjoy going to Tel Aviv and hearing from the speakers and the picking.


That Shabbat I spent it with the Moshes in Talpiyot who are some very good family friends. It was a nice relaxing Shabbat and it was nice to have a homemade meal.


That Tuesday's Erev Nativ was devoted to making our own chanukkiot to be used over Chanukah. It was a lot of fun to make our own and it was nice to have my own to use for the first time.


Wednesday night marked our last session with Mark Lazar. I learned a lot from this program and I'm so happy that I did it. As well as Wednesday night there was a big protest right outside the guest house by the right-wing Israelis against the construction settlement freeze in the West Bank. It was kind of cool to have such a major even happening right outside of our windows despite the loud noises.


For our next closed weekend (December 4-7) we travelled up north to Kibbutz Hanaton to see what Kibbutz life is like before we head down south to Kibbutz Ein Tzurim in February. Hanaton is a Masorti kibbutz that is trying to revitalize after a long period of inactivity. Friday after a long bus ride we arrived right before Shabbat so we got ready quickly and then headed to light Chanukkah and Shabbat. It was so nice to see over 35 chanukkiot lit and light up the room along with the Shabbat candles. Over the course of Shabbat we got a tour of the kibbutz and learned about the kibbutz and the kibbutz movement and revival. Sunday on the way back to Jerusalem we stopped in Zichron Yaakov and visited the First Alyiah Museum and then had time to walk around this small town. Zichron Yaakov was one of the first settlements in Israel when the pioneers moved to Israel from Eastern Europe. After lunch we went to Tel Aviv and visited the Olympic Experience, a new museum dedicated to Israel and its role in the Olympics. It was a very cool museum and I recommend that if anyone is ever in Tel Aviv to visit it.


Chanukah was such an amazing holiday in Israel. Weeks before and during the Chag supermarkets and bakeries were selling sufganiyot of all flavors and I got to sample some such as halva, caramel and more. While walking through the streets at night you could see chanukkiot lit in all the store windows and see everyone in a cheerful mood. That Thursday we went to nursing home in Meah Shearim to sing to the residents there. It was wonderful to cheer up the residents for a couple of minutes. Chanukah was such a wonderful holiday and it was wonderful to lit Chanukah candles with everyone on Nativ throughout the holiday. On the seventh night I managed to light Chanukah candles with my parents and Joshua via Skype so for one night it felt like I was lighting candles with my family. As well the Erev Nativ we had Chanukah party which included watching Rugrats Chanukah.


Throughout the month of December while at home there is the feeling of Christmas in the air however in Israel, even on Christmas Eve and day it did not seem like that holiday. Despite this on Christmas Eve a few of my friends and I watched some Christmas movies such as "It's a Wonderful Life".


The end of December also marked the end of my time at the Yeshiva. Sitting here now I can't believe how quickly my time there flew by. It was such an amazing experience; I made so many friends and learned so much. Due to the fact that Yeshiva ended a week earlier then the Ulpan track we had an extra week of classes just for Nativers. These classes were also quite interesting and were taught by some of the 2nd year students. If you would like to know more about some of my classes just ask.


Other then finishing studying at Yeshiva I mostly have been relaxing and just hanging around. For the past two weeks Gabriel has been here visiting so I have been touring around with him. Last week we took a tour of the Knesset in Hebrew and despite some hesitation I understood almost all of the tour. It was an interesting tour and it was fascinating to learn about the Israeli government. We then went to Meah Shearim to buy some books and for me this was my first time in the heart of Meah Shearim so it was nice that Gabriel exposed me to this places that I have not yet been to. Otherwise then that we have just been hanging out and it's been great seeing him and enjoying a piece of home. As well two of my friends, Sarah Prince and Alex Rosenberg came to Israel and Birthright so I got the chance to see them which was nice.


As well the past two weeks for Erev Nativ we have had two interesting speakers; Rabbi Morris Allen who spoke to us about Hechsher Tzedek and Rabbi Steven Wernick who is the new executive vice-president of USCJ. Both of them were very captivating and enjoyed them very much.


This week besides for seeing Gabriel I've been busy packing up and enjoying my time in Jerusalem because next week I will be doing an archeological dig in Tiberias, then next Shabbat I will be spending it with Abba and then I'm off to Greece for 11 days. Then when I get back from that we have an Israel Today Seminar and Negev Tiyul and then February 10th we move to Kibbutz Ein Tzurim. So as you can see these next couple of weeks will be quite busy.


Here are some pictures of what I have been up to lately.


Until next time,



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