Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye Haifa and Welcome to North American Kennes!

Cohort 5 Israel Winter Seminar
Tuesday, December 30th, 2014
By Josh Geller


As we awoke on Tuesday, the 30th the Boston Fellows realized a sad truth, it was time to leave our Israelis. Although there was some excitement about meeting all of the North American Dillers once again, a somber vibe filled the room as we arrived at Reut Middle School. We proceeded to take part in program led by Liana and Nitsan, which focused on memories, and what makes them important. We discussed how our memories play a large role in who we are as people, and as a collective group. We proceeded to discuss the top five most important events in the history of both Israel and America. We quickly came to the realization that the was no correct answer. Everyone had a different answer. The different ways in which we feel about certain events all stems from how we remember them. As a group of 17 and 18 year olds, some of us vaguely remember the events that took place on September 11, 2001. As a result of this scaring memory, many members found 9/11 to be on of the top five most pivotal moments the US history.  Our recollection of that day, and actually experiencing the effects of it, are what made the attacks on the Trade Center so important to us.
Continuing, we moved on to our Maagal Boker, which was led by Rachel, Amit and Shay. They led us in a game that truly made everyone feel special. They sat us in a circle and told us to close our eyes. After all eyes were shut, Yitzhak would tap people and tell them to open their eyes and walk into the middle of the circle. Then a question would be posed to the group of people in the middle such as, "Who has a contagious smile?" and who do you feel is a leader?" The fellows in the middle would proceed to walk around, and tap their peers on the head, if they were described by the question. Every fellow got to opportunity to stand up and anonymously, answer the question. I was tapped several times, and even towards the end of the twenty questions,  I got goose-bumps every time I was tapped on the head. It was a great experience because it let me know how people really feel about me. As someone who constantly wonders what other people think of me, it was great to find out. 
More emotions were to follow as it was finally the time that everyone was dreading. The bus arrived as we had to say a tear filled goodbye to our Israeli counterparts. Even though it is possible that I will never see some of those people again, I know that the connections I have made will last a lifetime. 
After a long three hour bus ride, we finally arrived at Sde Boker, where North American Kennes is being hosted. In the middle of the Negev everywhere you look is another breathtaking view. After some socializing with the cohorts from the other cities, we all met in the auditorium for a lecture on the history of the Jewish people. The one point that always sticks out to me when talking about Jewish history is the resiliency  exhibited by the Jews throughout thousands of years. After numerous exiles, and struggling through serve anti-semitisim, the Jewish people finally have a home, Israel.
The last program that we did was an emotional Maagal Lila led by our JCs Ilana and Yitzhak. After standing at the edge of a huge valley, and taking in the true beauty off the Negev we were handed letter that were written by our parents just before we were supposed to leave for Israel during the summer. These heartfelt, deeply emotional letters brought many of the fellows to tears. It was evident to most how much family means to us, and although we don't quite say it enough, we are very thankful. It was a great end to a very emotional day. 
Jimmy V, a very famous college basketball coach, who lost his battle with cancer said,  A full day is a day, where you laugh and cry in the same day. I think it is very safe to say, we all had a very full day.

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