Day 39 - Invitation to Silence, Mount Hertzl and Channukah Party
11:59 and my body fills with anticipation as I can hear the sounds of people outside of my door. I brace myself for the moment ahead when my door bursts open and my room fills with my IST family excitedly singing their out of tune rendition of 'happy birthday'.Several million hugs and shrieks later I ate some birthday wafers and went to sleep.
Fast forward to 7am when some of my closest friends stormed into my room with cake, balloons and more hugs and shrieks.I entered breakfast and was greeted by streamers and friendly faces all waiting to share my special day with me,and was sung to once again.
Rav Benj held a shuir in honour of my birthday and began the shiur with the ideas that "birthdays are the anniversary of God's decision that the world couldn't be complete without you", this put into perspective the importance of gratitude about being able to celebrate my birthday in Israel, the holy land surrounded by all my friends.
We ran onto the bus and headed towards Holon to visit the children's museum to experience "invitation to silence". The entire bus was filled with nerves about attempting to experience the daily challenges that people who are deaf are faced with each and everyday. During the drive I was presented with a beautiful card written by all of bus 3, the best part of my IST family.
The invitation to silence exhibition was an enriching an eye opening experience which aimed to educate us about the difficulties people who are deaf face everyday while emphasising the importance of inclusion and understanding. The various activities were filled with laughs and lots of confusion but after the initial bewilderment we learnt to communicate with our tour guide, Dorit. She taught us many signs and gave us the ability to put what we had learned into practice
in a situation where we were able to buy food and drinks, but all without saying a word. I am very grateful for this opportunity and I will take all the lessons i have gained with me forever.
From Holon we ran back onto the bus heading to Har Herzl, the cemetery for military and political figures. From arrival, we all felt sad because of all the death and pain surrounding us, yet still the beauty of the cemetery itself created a sense of hope and pride for all, a reminder of the country that these people sacrificed their lives to build and defend. During our time there we visited the graves of many inspirational and influential people such as Yoni Netanyahu.
We left and on return to the hotel we had some free time,dinner and then an evening filled with celebration. Two of our own members of the IST family celebrated their Batmitzvahs, It was a beautiful event that I was privileged to be part of. In between the celebration we were blessed to hear one of the best acapella groups in Jerusalem, Bacapella which included bus 2's security guard-Aaron. The band sang renditions of many jewish songs which had IST on their feet. I was sang to once again....
One of our very own IST family members,as well as my friend is leaving to return to Israel after being a Shaliach for 4 years. It was a very sad moment but we will all miss him very much and cannot wait to see him when he comes back to visit us soon !
The night ended with a dance party with Dj Martin and his mixes which was the perfect end to my birthday.
I'm going to miss everyone and this program so so much,but I can't wait to go home and see my family.
By Jaimi Knep