My first shabbat in Israel was an unforgettable experience. Starting from the moment we brought Shabbat in when we lit the candles, until the moment we sang Havdallah, bringing an end to Shabbat.
We started our Shabbat morning bright and early, leaving the hotel for a half hour walk tom Shule Netzanim. We had a long walk under the hot sun, but we were all together and it was very special. The shule service was truly beautiful and personally I felt very connected today. The vibes in the shule we went to, are very different to the ones in Sydney. Everyone joined in and everyone danced and singed. After the beautiful shule service, we all walked to David Wolfowitcz's house for kiddush. It was really nice that we were altogether.
After this, we all split up into our respective groups to go for Shabbat lunch to four different families. Before going to lunch my group walked to Miriam Tekuziner’s house While we were there we met great new people, helped out with the making of Shabbat lunch, and got to know Miriam a little bit better. Miriam was also hosting some Jewish boys on Limmud so we interacted with them and may have found some potential husbands. My group was Mimi, Jacob, Alon and Marissa; we went to a family called the Lifschitz’s. They were extremely welcoming and our lunch was filled with laughs and new found friendships.
We all talked for hours while eating the delicious Shabbat food that was made for us. The five of us really got to know each other and had the best time together. At the end of the day we were picked up by the rest of the group to go back to the hotel. We had a really great experience at a wonderful family with even better people to share it with. We were sure, by all the smiling faces and many stories shared after our lunches, that everyone had just as much of an amazing day as we did.
After our walk back to the hotel we went straight downstairs to the shule for a short mincha before making our way up to the rooftop of the hotel for Seudah Shlishit. We made our treacherous journey up seven flights of stairs, and it was most definitely worth it when we got to the top. We all watched the sunset over the beautiful Jerusalem while eating rugelach and challah that we had made two nights before. We sang songs and shared stories about our day before heading back downstairs for Maariv and Havdallah.
We brought out Shabbat, and had an hour to get ready for a big night ahead of us, that none of us saw coming. We caught a bus to Emek Refaim and walked all the way down the street, walking into a laser tag studio. To all of our surprises we would be splitting up into two teams and playing a competitive game of laser tag. I think everyone had more fun than expected and few people's competitive sides came out to play. In the end the blue team won and to their victory we all had free time for a few hours to roam around the street and go for dinner.
Everyone decided to go for sushi at Sushi Rechavya, so in our free time we had a delicious dinner as a group. Two hours later we hopped back on a bus to go back to the hotel, and head up to bed. Over the past week I feel like our group has really gotten closer to each other and formed a special bond, but even more so over these past two days. We all disconnected to connect, and I think I can speak on behalf of everyone when I say it was a very special and most definitely a memorable experience. My first Shabbat in Israel was put down as one of the most unique Shabbatot I have ever experienced. I can't wait to see what the next week holds for us Na'aleh participants.