Na'aleh Day 13: Leila Freedman

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Our second and final Shabbat of Na’aleh. This was our only free time of the program, to go meet family and friends in different cities.

I spent my time in Jerusalem, with Shlomit Bateman, a Sherut Leumi girl from last year. Another girl that went to Midrasha with Shlomit was also staying there. We worked out that her dad was the Rabbi of the same shule that my grandfather was a Rabbi of in London. What a small world!!

Funnily enough this week was Bnei Akiva’s special weekend where they repaint the ma’on and name the new shevet. So on Friday night, we went there for Kabbalat Shabbat and to see the new shevet walls. There was paint everywhere and the shule was pretty makeshift but the energy and vibe was amazing. I then had my first Thanksgiving dinner, as Shlomit’s family is from America. A group of Israeli/American families had Shabbat dinner together to celebrate Thanksgiving simultaneously. So I had the full experience: Turkey soup ⁃ American songs about their freedom and pride ⁃ Pumpkin pie ⁃ Turkey stuffing ⁃ Paper plates with pictures of Turkeys ⁃ Fake paper turkey on the table ⁃ Paper cut outs of farmers and pagans ⁃ Pecan pie (that was amazing) ⁃ Three different types of cranberry sauce for the turkey. It was a full on American meal!

After dinner we came back to her home and it was so nice to catch up after not seeing each other for six months. I slept for 12 hours, woke up for lunch and then went back to bed - to rest up for Poland. I was quite sleep-deprived from the entire experience of Na’aleh that I pretty much slept the entire day.

We did Havdalah and then went out for some delicious waffles. I came back to finish packing my suitcase, wrote my Poland speech and Face-Timed friends. It was so nice to catch up with them before they all leave Sydney and we leave Israel for Poland. Finally, I turned off the lights - ready for our last day of Midrasha, Yeshiva and Na’aleh.

It hasn’t really yet sunk in that we are going to Poland tomorrow night but there are mixed emotions. We are excited to meet up with everyone else as we haven’t seen them for what feels like ages. This is put against leaving Na’aleh as we have bonded as a group and we are now being split up.

And that was my experience of Na’aleh free week end!!

Na'aleh Day 14: Erin Zimmerman

IST Departure: Lori Alpert & Ashleigh Ludwig