Pre-IST Shabbaton Part 1
To every person there is a story, to every name there is a face, to every child there is a parent and to every journey there is a beginning. This was ours.
Arriving at school on Friday 28 October 2016, along with 157 other Moriah and Masada students, I was so excited and pumped for Shabbat. All the talk about who was going to be with who, and which options we will receive had all come to an end. We were finally going to be taken out of suspense and begin the IST journey. We were gathered in the shule to have a quick introduction and then it was off to the grass area to find out who our family groups were through an interactive activity. The excitement and atmosphere that surrounded me was remarkable, everyone was buzzing, running around to find out who was with who. Once everyone was settled, we had a small program within our family groups. It was then followed with a beautiful Kabbalat Shabbat service led by one of our own, Adam Marks. Everyone got involved, sang along and really created a vibrant and energetic atmosphere that was carried through to the delicious Shabbat dinner. After finishing dinner, on full stomachs, we were gathered back together again for Poland TED talks which included 3 madrichim and 1 staff member speaking about their Poland experience. As everyone started to speak, I could feel my emotion building up and then it really hit me, in those few moments I realised why I’m going on this trip. I realised that I’m going to learn about my heritage and make sure that all the things that happened to our people in the past, will never happen again. Before I had arrived I was very nervous to go to Poland but the reassurance that was given and the lessons I can take from my madrichim’s talks, have given me confidence that there’s a reason as to why I’m going, for my sake and the sake of the Jewish people. The night was then finished off with a tisch, a few great laughs, some sporting activities in the gym and a cute sleepover with all the girls.
The next morning started off with a delicious breakfast, Shacharit service, Kiddush and program. Once again, we ate a scrumptious Shabbat meal that was again followed by another program. This was a highlight and eye opening program for me. It was about self-awareness and the way in which we must not only think about ourselves but think about the people who we are surrounded by. At one point we were given a picture of a certain person and we had to describe them by only using one word and it couldn’t be a physical quality. We were then we given a mirror, and had to describe one word about ourselves. The message I took was that whichever word I described myself with, is that how others see me? Do I want others to see me as that? This stuck me with and I really learned about the way we must act in order to benefit ourselves and others, whether it’s just saying hi to someone or giving them a wave. The rest of the day included free time and Seudat Shlishit and ending off Shabbat with a Havdalah session. Ready for a good night sleep and back at school early in the morning for the final stretch of the Shabbaton.
The next morning we came back to school, but this time joined by our parents to have one final meeting in preparation for our departure and receive all our goodies. We were privileged to hear the Holocaust survivor, Eddie Jaku himself, speaking about his experience of surviving the atrocity and the lessons he took that we can subsequently learn from him. He spoke with such optimism and hope for someone who went through such unimaginable things. There was one thing he said that I wont ever forget “If I was able to give all the money I had up, to have my mother back with me in my arms. I would”. With that I think that all I can say to my parents, donors, teachers, and mads, is thank you so much for giving me this incredible opportunity to experience something that I will never forget. The friendships I will make, the things I will learn and the places I’ll go will be the best 6 weeks of my life. I cannot wait to leave and finally return home.