Day 10 & 11: “A grab-bag of a last weekend”

Sunday, 5 June, 2011 - 11:42 am

Shabbat on birthright is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I think most of us agree that we have never just been doing so much in so little time, so when we got the 7th day to rest-and sleep in until 11:30-we couldn’t have been more grateful. Still, it didn’t stop us from being a bunch of sluggish sleepyheads, but it was okay. The day consisted of several relaxing activities.

The first activity involved us coming to terms with, and discussing, our Jewish identities. In groups, we decided what to prioritize as a Jew, and the most important things to do in order to further our Jewish identities. A lot insightful conversation ensued, including Shira getting pretty worked up about none of us offering a solution as to how we would “work to unite the Jewish people” even though the majority of us ranked it #1.

Our second activity, entitled “Stump the Rabbi”-or, “Stomp the Rabbi” for the hearing impaired-was an open Q & A between us and Rabbi Levi, where we got to ask him anything that was on our mind about Judaism and life, and what the Torah dictated about it. Like I said before, we were all pretty tired-and after all Saturday is the day of rest-so Stump the Rabbi came and went, and we napped up, took a walking tour to Israel’s parliament buildings, had another Shabbat dinner, a Havdalah service in the lobby (where we were accompanied by Shira’s family) and made our way to a club in Jerusalem.

The club was an awesome time, and saw the entire bus come together for some (responsible) drinking and dancing. Everyone was rocking out hard, leaving it all on the dance floor (including Ronen, who definitely had his hot pants on.) We left around 12:45, and went back to the hotel. There was a lot of hanging out in hallways-I’ll leave it up to your imagination as to why people didn’t go into their rooms-and a few of us made our way out to the patio again, staying up and chatting ‘til the wee hours of the morning.

This morning, we woke up at 8:30 and after breakfast, gathered in a room at the hotel and went around in a circle talking about our expectations for the trip, what we’ll take back home with us, and what our favorite experiences were. Pretty much everything I’ve mentioned throughout the trip was mentioned; I opted to think outside the box and talk about the country’s beautiful scenery and beautiful people (not physically, but I guess you can interpret it that way if you want.)

Ronen proceeded to take us to the edge of the West Bank, where we overlooked and learned about the state of Palestinians in Israel. We also learned that Ronen and his family are 4 of 400,000 Jews that live in Israel’s West Bank, and although he usually takes his private tour groups to his home, Taglit deems it un-Kosher, so all we did was look.

Our last activity of the trip brought us to Jerusalem’s famous Ben Yehudah Street, where we had an hour or two to walk around, shop, and enjoy the cuisine of Israel one last time. I enjoyed a shwarma that was just as good, if not better, than any else I had on the trip. I don’t know, maybe it was because it was the last meal, maybe it was because it was legitimately better, but I savored every last bite. I walked around and made my final shopping rounds, getting a gift here and there, and even getting a little self indulgent. (It was a Mets mezuzah that’ll definitely look nice on my doorway at 160 Oak next semester). Probably the best part of the afternoon was happening upon a few Binghamton Bearcats yarmulkes on sale. I know there are a lot of Jews at Binghamton, but really? Really? (This has been “Really?” with Seth Meyers—err---Jordan Rabinowitz).

Jokes and obscure references aside, it was a great way to spend our last afternoon in Israel. Afterwards, we drove to the airport, said goodbye to those extending their trips and our awesome   Currently, we’re just hanging out at the gate in Ben-Gurion Airport, anxiously awaiting our terribly long flight back to JFK. We’re tired, antsy, giddy, but most of all, upset that our awesome 10-day trip is coming to an end. We still have half a day together though, and we’re sure to make the most of it. I scored an aisle seat, so I definitely won’t have any problems.

I’ll give you a full recap and reflection of our amazing trip once I get back to the states. Lyla Tov! Shalom Israel! YOU WERE AMAZING!

Comments on: Day 10 & 11: “A grab-bag of a last weekend”

sharon ball wrote...

jordan - i want to thank you for sharing your experiences with us. as a parent, i looked forward to following your trip each day and seeing the pictures afterward. i am as sad as you that the trip is over.
sharon ball (allie's mom)