Na'aleh Day 8: Josh Levin

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Our morning felt a little different to that of a typical Monday morning in Sydney. We had already spent Sunday at Yeshiva and Midrasha, and were well into our various learning focuses for the week ahead. We had another great shacharit where Mr Grauman graced us with his beautiful leining once again. 

After that the boys went our separate ways to Yeshiva. Still quite tired from a long Shabbat and full day of learning and volunteering, we enjoyed a scenic, music-free bus ride to Ramat Bet Shemesh, trying to gather our energies for the day ahead.

Once at Lev HaTorah, we started with our Gemara seder and shiur with Rabbi Khan as usual. We began looking into the controversial topic of drinking on Purim and the many perspectives surrounding it. We had to analyse these perspectives on the respective Gemara, which proved to be challenging for some of us. Although I'm confident in Hebrew, the different style of the commentaries was difficult to understand and a bit beyond my comfort zone. After this we went over what we had learnt so far with Rabbi Khan in a shiur, concluding that on Purim it's acceptable to drink a fair amount under certain conditions.

Then, one of the Rabbis shared his story about his transformation from a reckless teenager to the person he is today. It was inspiring to see the great person he has become, after hearing about some of his younger years. He really emphasised how every individual has the potential to be better and improve themselves.

After this, the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Boaz, kindly invited us into his home nearby where we enjoyed a tasty lunch and had a very interesting discussion about the different ways in which we perform mitzvot, including those which are done through thoughts, words or actions. One of the great things about Lev HaTorah is that all the Rabbis live within such close proximity of the Yeshiva, which allows a great sense of family and community between the students and Rabbis.

After lunch we came back to the Yeshiva for chavrutot, learning with other students in the yeshiva. I learnt with Ilan who, like many of the other students, was from New York. We learnt about striving for happiness and how it ties into mitzvot and learning. To finish off learning for the day, we had a shiur with Rav Dudi Winkler, who gave us a different understanding of the connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel.

After a good day of learning we headed back to Jerusalem for the night's activities. We walked from the hotel to the Shuk, where we searched for the best place to have dinner. It was less hectic than when we had visited on Friday before Shabbat. After treating ourselves to the various different foods the shuk had to offer, the boys headed off to a surprise activity.

We arrived at our mystery destination to discover a Krav Maga gym. Ephraim, our instructor, led us inside. We were all pretty excited for the new combat and defence skills we would soon learn but within the first two minutes we were sprinting up and down the gym, doing push-ups and sit-ups at each end. After warming up a little, Ephraim began teaching us the basics, from the stance to punching combinations. Ephraim seemed to enjoy using me as a punching bag to demonstrate on. During a demonstration, I was the attacker holding a fake knife and had to swing at Ephraim. He swiftly blocked my attack following up with a lighting fast punch straight in my chest. Not expecting such a blow, I found myself on the floor in a fair amount of discomfort. Although my experience was particularly painful, the session helped bring to light the confronting reality of what may happen in a real situation.

We came back to the hotel to find the girls having a zumba party, and then wrapped up a great day with Maariv and Hebrew time with David.

Na'aleh Day 8: Zoe Said and Jessica Shub

Na'aleh Day 7: Gia Glick