Na'aleh Day 1: Zoe Said

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Flying from Sydney to Israel was a mix of excitement and nerves for what would be ahead. The 24
hours of flying went by in a flash, with all 14 of us talking and laughing trying to picture the next 2
weeks. After finally landing in Ben Gurion Airport it was thrilling to be on Israeli soil, and having all our ex-Counterpoint mads waiting by the gate extinguished our exhaustion.

Straight from the airport we caught a bus to Armon Hanatziv for a beautiful breakfast picnic
overlooking the Jerusalem skyline. While eating and chilling overlooking Jerusalem, David Bernstein’s sister surprised him after 10 months apart. It was wonderful watching David and his sister, Lori, reunite as well as seeing other ex- Moriah students who are on their gap year away.

From here, we all hopped on the bus and went to the most iconic and holy place in Israel, the Kotel. Right from the beginning of the Jewish quarter, David and Jess were blindfolded so they could experience the Western Wall for the first time just for themselves. Zoe and Mimi directing Jess, and Lori directing David, down the multiple steps was a challenge for all but worth every millisecond. As we all stood waiting for David and Jess to take of their blindfolds, it was a mix of emotions as we saw their faces light up as well as a few tears. Whilst at the Kotel, Kovi lead a meaningful Mincha service, and we all got a personal moment to say our own little prayer and to see the Wall.

We headed back to the Jewish Quarter to get some much needed lunch and then left the Old City
and made our way to the hotel. We got cleaned up and showered, and suddenly we all felt more
rejuvenated. After a solid hour of rest we met in the lobby and made our way to a book shop nearby. We were given money and told to go buy a book about a topic that we were interested in. Topics ranged from ethics of Judaism to the science of Judaism to the history of Israel. We are all very keen to get reading. A venture down Ben Yehudah Street allowed us some time to take in the true Jerusalem environment. By the end of a nice buffet dinner, we were all exhausted; some people even falling asleep at the dinner table. We all slowly walked back to the hotel and crashed as soon as we got into our rooms. Overall a very enjoyable and special day to embark on this journey.

Na'aleh, Day 2: Kovi Smith

Pre-IST Shabbaton: Hannah Whitmont