Shabbas At Ein Tzurim by Shira Benson and Zoe Elstein


December 20, 2014

Our favourite part of the week had finally arrived! A time of rest, chilling with friends and learning. This Shabbat allowed us to reflect on the past week and look forward to the final few days of IST.

After an adventurous morning well spent uncovering the ancient pottery and bones in the archeological digs in Beit Gurvin, we arrived at our destination for the weekend, the religious kibbutz Ein Tzurim. As always, there was a frantic rush to get ready to light the Chanukah candles and Shabbat candles. We tumbled off the bus filthy from digging, sifting and crawling through unexcavated cave systems and within a matter of minutes hair was being curled, shirts were ironed and make up was beautifully applied. The transformation was incredible and the atmosphere around us was cheerful. With the candles burning, we made our way to commence a beautiful shule service. A delicious communal dinner and some family group down time followed this before joining together as a group, where we reflected on our optional activities that took place earlier in the week.


It was fascinating to hear everyone’s thoughts on the activities that they had chosen. We saw that everyone managed to form new connections and forge new friendships within their small groups. We then took part in our regular Friday night tisch. We were amazed that nobody left the room, but then realised it was because of the game. “Bang, Bang your dead.” Ari then went on to inform us with the rules of the game. We were to isolate our victim either within a room alone or 20 meters and whisper the words no one wanted to hear: “Bang, Bang your dead.” Once you killed your target you moved on to the person your target had to kill.  Tension was built and we all became more aware of our surroundings. Let the games begin!


After our weekly Shabbat sleep-in, with alliances being formed, we crept around all day, avoiding the “gun”. We were all paranoid of walking alone, as people were getting out from the game at every unexpected moment. We then listened to an interesting speaker and member of the kibbutz named Noam, who illustrated to us how their religious kibbutz life had been incorporated into 21st century values. He explained the laws of Shmita and showed us the magnificent fields of the Kibbutz.


Our afternoon was spent lying in the sun, learning, eating and playing ‘bang, bang, you’re dead’. By the time the afternoon had passed half of the IST family were out. People went beyond what we had imagined finding unexpected ways to kill their targets. We witnessed people jumping out of bushes, waiting in their rooms to shoot their targets and people devising plans to eliminate their opponents.  


Later that night, we celebrated the 5th night of Chanukah while having a traditional Chanukah dinner, latkas… well not quite…more like pizza! Next, we headed to the shule for a special and crazy Chanukah concert. The vibe was buzzing as the girls and boys sang and danced to live music. Shabbas ended on such a high note for all of us and we are excited to make the most for the remainder of the trip.



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