Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Last Day! ReJEWvenation in Tel Aviv

Wednesday, August 7th
Written by Liza Sherman

Tuesday, August 7
After what seemed to feel very late in comparison to our previous day's wakeup at 4 am, the fellows all met downstairs in our hotel with our fully packed bags and all ate breakfast together at 9 am. We then departed for Tel Aviv to play an interactive game to get to know the city, called "In our Streets". This was no regular tour. We were split up into six groups each with Haifa and Boston fellows and a JC to assist us. We were all given a preliminary clue to bring us to our first destination. The aim of the hunt was to get to know the city by navigating from place to place with the use of clues, and tasks to complete along the way. We were encouraged to ask people around us for help when we needed it, whether it be how to get from place to place, or a question about history to help us answer a question (this was a big change for us who are used to just typing every question we have into google). The clues brought us all around to parks, monuments, and other important landmarks in Tel Aviv. We were also given challenges to complete along the way for bonus points. For example, one challenge was to make a petition for a cause we believed in and get 10 signatures from real people. This pushed all of us go out of comfort zones and helped us start thinking about what causes are important to us! After roughly 2 hours, we met back and the scores were tallied. The winning group was given ice cream (everybody's favorite!) as a prize. We then had some downtime to eat lunch and relax after our active morning of walking (and sometimes running) around the city.

 We then crossed the street to go meet up with Ron Gura, the head of Ebay's Israel Innovation Center, and one of Liana's friends. He spoke to us about his business, a group gift giving website that creates an easier process for buying gifts with a group of people. He also gave us advice on working in groups, and other life tips. I personally really enjoyed listening to him speak! Then, since we had a little free time (and some very low energy levels that needed to be boosted) we went over to a park area and did some of our favorite things, played games and sang songs! We played a new style of one of everyone's favorites, Wah. However, this time we played it using compliments! This was a great way to help us all get energized, and boost everyone's moods as well!

We then all got together to discuss our preliminary ideas for our community service projects (in air conditioning!). We got together in small groups (mixed Boston- Haifa) to learn about each others ideas. Following that, we drove to the port for our final hours together We got into a huge circle with all of us and people shared their project ideas with the larger group. Then, we split into maagals with our corresponding cities. Us from Boston gave feedback to our wonderful staff. Then, we joined into one final maagal with all of the Boston- Haifa fellows. This moment was so bittersweet. We all got into one last maagal where we all passed around a sheet of paper with each fellows name and as it traveled around the circle, the fellow holding it would write down the answer to a prompt read aloud. For example, a few prompts were "You helped me when..", "I love you because...", "My advice for you..." and various others. At the end of the activity, we were told that these were the same prompts that were given to us in our Postman activity on the last night of NAS. Through comparing the answers we were given, we could see how we have grown since NAS. We then sang one last song together, took a group photo, and split off to have dinner on the boardwalk.

An hour later, after doing one of our last rollcalls, we boarded the bus for the dreaded journey to the airport. Our last hashkivenu was sung, and we were forced to give our goodbyes. I had been dreading this moment since we first met the Israelis in March. We all began to tear up, but personally, I began to sob. However, one of the Haifa fellows said to me "Don't cry. This isn't goodbye, just see you later". I then realized that no, this wasn't the end of our connection and we will always have the amazing bonds that Diller created and brought us together with. Finally, the moment came and we were forced to walk back into the airport for our long journey home. Thank you for the last three weeks, words can't even describe the outstanding experiences we all had.

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