Pre-IST Shabbaton: Hannah Whitmont


My Jewish identity; this is why I’m going on IST – to find out more about where I am from,
and where my family is from; or so I thought…

I had high expectations to figure out my own heritage and experience what my ancestors
experienced, and to embark on a highly personal journey through the Holy Land. This was
my perspective on the IST journey before attending the Shabbaton, but now I realise that
this view is not only ignorant, but just incorrect. Even though I will discover my own family’s
heritage and explore my Jewish identity, I know now that I also share this history with so
many of my friends, family and peers and this is an experience that will be unforgettable for
each and every one of us.

For the weeks leading up to the IST Shabbaton, I had no idea what to expect. Would I make
new friends? When would we find out our activities? Would I be with my friends? What if
this, what if that? But as soon as I arrived at Moriah, I forgot all my worries and doubts
because I was greeted with so much ruach – i.e. Mrs Gluckman telling me I was late… But I
brushed it off and vowed not to be late again (so as not to face the lateness schpiel). We all
gathered in the shule for an introduction to an incredible weekend from the famed Ilan
Lavan. From just a glance around the synagogue, I already recognised so many friendly,
familiar faces from both Moriah and Masada. I had already begun to love this trip and the
Moriah/Masada cohort. From just this glance, I knew I would meet new friends and form
tight bonds with the most unlikely of characters. We were then told to keep our phones on
and wait for a message – intriguing. We were sent with cryptic clues to the location of our
family groups where we would be spending much of our time. I couldn’t wait to begin this
journey with my peers. We were introduced to each other and our Madricha ran a couple of
respectable and question-inducing tochniot with us to kick-start the weekend.

Dinner was a catered feast. I know Moriah is not generally known for its quality camp food,
but this was something else entirely. I was able to bond with a whole group of new faces
over a delicious Shabbat meal; a perfect start to an even better weekend.

We headed to bed at around 11pm, but that didn’t mean that we had to sleep! My new
group of friends and I stayed up way too late chatting and forming tighter friendships.

The next morning, we were greeted by another delicious breakfast and were allowed to
sleep in until 10.00am, which was heavenly. The rest of that day was just a keenness and
excitement to leave for the journey of a lifetime. If this Shabbaton was just a glimpse at
what will be IST, I cannot wait to embark and discover my heritage and that of my peers and
Jewish community.

Na'aleh Day 1: Zoe Said

Coming soon!