Friday, May 21, 2010

Completing The Holiday Cycle

Friday morning I chose to go to Gan one last time and once again the kids ran up to me and I enjoyed spending the morning there, and I realized once again how much I will miss the Gan and everyone there. The rest of the day prior to Shabbat was spent continuing to pack and cleaning up my room.


To begin our last Shabbat we started with a program which was centered on the NPR program, This I Believe. It began with first listing to a few of the essays that have been submitted to the program and then we had time to write our own. It was then time for a very nice Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma'ariv before our last Shabbat dinner on Kibbutz which was ok. Shabbat morning we had tiffilot before heading of one last time to my host mommy, Rivkah for lunch which was delicious and we got to meet some of her family. Shabbat afternoon I spent it relaxing, hanging out with my friends and reading before we had part two of our program. This part was each one of us reading our This I Believe essays and I really learned a lot about my fellow kibbutznicks and then we concluded Shabbat with Mincha, Seudah Shlishit, Ma'ariv and Havdalah.


Sunday was spent finalizing packing because later that day we loaded a truck with suitcases that we will not see until the airport and boxes/drawers of items that we are leaving to next year's Nativers. Later in the evening we held a 'banquet' to say thank you to our host families and to our bosses. It was very nice and I received a booklet of pictures that the kids had drawn which was very touching.


Monday morning after a very tearful goodbye we left Kibbutz for the last time and headed to Jerusalem for our final week in Israel. When we got back to Beit Nativ, we took our group picture and had lunch before moving back into our old room and had some down time before our final Kibbutz program. This program was sharing memories from the year in various art forms. So I chose photography and our theme was Jerusalem so we want out took a few pictures and then we all came back together to present. Monday night there was a Nativ talent show which for the most part was funny and another nice way to bring the year to a close.


Tuesday morning we were free and I went with some friends all of Jerusalem to pick up gifts and other things that we needed before we left and we also stopped at Holy Bagel for lunch. The rest of the day before chag was spent relaxing and getting ready. We started Shavuot with Mincha and Ma'ariv followed by a pretty decent dairy dinner (blintzes, lasagna, and cheesecake), we then had until 2 AM to go to various places around the city for different study sessions. I chose to first go to Beit Avi Chai to hear Dr. Micha Goodman talk about the meaning of humanity according to Maimonides "Guide to the Perplexed." It was a very interesting session and made me think a lot about what he was talking about. I then walked back to Moreshet Yisrael for a session by Rabbi Mordechai Silverstein and he taught about how to deal with the disagreement between science and the creation of the world. I also enjoyed this session a lot and it felt like being back in midrash class. I then took some time to relax and then from 2 AM-3:45 AM there were Nativ run study session and I taught with a friend about Ruth and conversion and there was a break in the middle for ice cream and cheesecake. At 4 AM we walked to Robinson's Arch/the Southern Wall for services. It was very nice to wear my tallit and tiffilot were nice but at times it was quite cold and because there were a lot of people it was hard to hear who was leading at times.


When services were over at 7:45 AM, I walked back with the 10 or so people who had stayed until the end and then had a bit of breakfast before heading to bed due to the past 23 hours without sleep. Once I got up, I had lunch and then spent the rest of the afternoon reading, relaxing and napping, we then had Mincha, dinner and Ma'ariv to end chag. This was also as the title of my blog states, the concluding of celebrating every single holiday in Israel (pilgrimage let me celebrate the two summer holidays) and it was for sure very nice to be able to get the chance to celebrate each one in Israel. Wednesday night I went out with Ari to get a 2nd dinner at New Deli and then we hung out with some other friends on Ben Yehuda.


Thursday was a full day of programming and the morning was personally a waste of time, hearing about programs that are not relevant to the majority of us or programs that we have already heard about. The afternoon was probably the most amazing program ever. It started off with Yossi pretending that we were juniors and he showed us the Nativ promo video and then talked to us about why we should take a gap year as he or Nachum had done 2 years ago. He then explained the afternoon program which he told would be reflecting on the whole year. We were then sent down to -3 in groups and I was amazed with what I saw. They had converted all of -3 into all the various aspects of the past 9 months and we were given a journal with questions relating to each part of the year and we were given the whole afternoon to sit and go through it at our own pace. I loved how one of the best programs was sitting, writing and reflecting in quite for around 2 hours. Thursday night I went out for some delicious and filling soup (I got vegetable) and then hung out again on Ben Yehuda and surrounding area and I also got some ice cream.


Friday morning I got up and went to the shuk for the last time and picked up a plethora of items that I wanted to bring home in including marzipan and gummies. As I sit here writing this, I'm finishing getting things packed up and just enjoying my time here; I'm looking forward to my last Shabbat and then Sunday will be my final day in Israel which is bittersweet but I'm ready to come home.