December 16, 2013
All we have been dreaming of to make a perfect IST was a white Shabbos morning to top off a perfect week, and to be honest, we couldn’t have asked for a better amount of snow. White covered the surrounding gardens of the hotel and added to the immense happiness that was Saturday morning. I literally woke up to the shouts of glee as my roommates looked out our window, bleary eyed from the previous nights festivities, to see a picturesque Jerusalem spread out over the mountains.
Shacharit and Musaf in the shule with Yakov was a formal and very joyful affair as we prayed with all our hearts, thanking Hashem for the miracle of the largest amount of snowfall Israel has had in 57 years . I’ll set the scene: the girls were dressed to impress, with a little Jerusalem flair to accentuate the purpose of our prayers. The boys were dapper and shochelling, with all the kavana- sincere dedication, that they could muster for a late wake up call (credits to Lexi Weinberger for that little insight into word meanings). Then after our prayers were said and the Torah was read, we sat down to eat. And eat, and eat, and eat. Man, was there a lot of food. But then again, we shouldn’t have really been surprised with the amount that there was, because now I think everyone has become accustomed to the Israeli way of eating: “big eyes, small stomach”.
Free time was spent wisely by all, with some choosing to catch some more zzz’s, have deep and meaningful conversations with their friends and madrichim, taking walks in the snow and playing games in the lobby. I ended up playing a rather interesting game that my mad Shlomo introduced me to. It’s called Jungle Speed. It involves a lot of hand eye co-ordination (tick), a quick brain (damn) and the power to overrule your opponent by fighting over a small wooden stick. I can safely say that I came out of that game unscathed, but unfortunately, two other girls learnt the hard way about what it’s like to want the same thing at the same time, and one came out with a scratched hand and a bruised pride. Maariv and Havdalah followed, and after bringing out shabbat, everyone agreed with a smile on their faces that it had to have been one of the best Havdalahs they ever had the privilege of participating in. Everyone stood with their arms draped over their neighbour’s shoulders and sang like they were Beyonce, facing towards the Havdalah candle which was being held by Hadarel and Arielle and smelling the mint leaves they passed off as besamim (spices). Everyone was in their element, and nothing could break the spirit that we had created over that day. Until, that is, when the fog rolled in.
We were told earlier that day that if we were lucky, after Shabbat, we might be able to go back to the shopping centre that we went to on our first night after Gadna. Alas, Mother Nature had a different plan, and as we packed onto the buses, with our shekels held tight in our hot little hands, we were told that the fog was too thick for the bus drivers to travel in. We could barely see three metres in front of us, so naturally we were annoyed that our shopping expedition had been cut short. We ended up eating Burgers Bar in the lobby of the hotel (that is, after an hour and a half wait between getting back inside, deciding what to do, ordering and collecting the money) and watching the beginning of Patch Adams inside the makeshift theatre.
A fun day was had by all, and it was a day which I know none of us will want to forget.