Na'aleh Day 9: Leila Freedman

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We are finally settling in to a routine - breakfast ,then davening at 8.00am, and then boys go to Yeshiva and girls to Midrasha for another day of learning. 

Today we learnt about the meaning behind benching and the characteristics of a positive and effective relationship. Then, some of us spent time meditating and others went to a Tehillim class. The teacher was incredible, having done both a degree in musicology and Jewish education. She was able to analyse Tehillim, not only as a text, but also as a song.

One of the Amit madrichot came to teach us about the ethics of free will. She brought the question that if Hashem knows all, including our future, how can he punish us for our actions? This shiur was accompanied by tons of snacks, including Oreos, pretzels, shuk lollies and Pringles.

We continued our daily lesson on Tefilla with Rel. Our goal is to assign a word to each bracha of the Amidah in order to give more meaning to what we say. So far, this has allowed us to think about our davening much more deeply. Our next class allowed us to express ourselves through painting. This was one of the first classes that we started talking to some of the Amit girls. It was amazing to see the connections that were made across the world, finding mutual friends etc.  Our final class was on the integration of science and creationism within a Modern Orthodox framework.

We had another surprise evening, going straight from Midrasha to the Israel museum. Despite the freezing wind and the initial disappointment of going to a museum, we all found it very interesting to see the progression of Jewish heritage through physical representation. We saw the Dead Sea scrolls, ancient shules and Torahs.

We came back for another hotel dinner, but the girls ordered pizza that was delivered to the
hotel. We all ended up going to Ben Yehudah where the boys got McDonalds and the girls visited Katzefet. 

Funny story: we went into a jewellery store and they asked which program we were on. We said Na’aleh and IST - as soon as the man heard, he called out to his son in the back to get the sign. When we left, there was a massive sign saying ‘discounts for IST’ and later that night we saw a ‘we love IST’ sign on another shop. I guess we are pretty popular with the shop owners…

In order to improve the Na’aleh program for next year’s participants, we spent some time giving constructive criticism. We had Hebrew time and then time for bed. At this point we realised that there are only 3 full days left of Na’aleh! We have bonded as a group and increased our awareness of Judaism through Midrasha and Yeshiva. It has gone so quickly but we’re excited to make the most of the time left.

Na'aleh Day 10: Alon Kopelowitz

Na'aleh Day 9: Kovi Smith