Na'aleh Day 14: Erin Zimmerman

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After a nice, peaceful free Shabbat in Tel Aviv, we were ready, yet sad, to end Na’aleh with our last day of Midrasha. Zoe and I raced our suitcases quickly up the road, but had time to stop at Aroma and waited for our bus to collect us. We hopped on the bus and drove all the way to Jerusalem, picked up the girls and then we were on our way to Midrasha.

Our day of Midrasha started off with a lot of enthusiasm because we were all keen for our first class with Nilli. The class started off with a bit of a boogie to ‘Hashem Melech’, getting us jumping around and dancing in circles with the Amit girls. We then all sat down on the floor and sang a short yet powerful song which Nilli made up herself. I took so much out of the lesson - just to name a few things learnt: the chair of judgement and that everyone is precious.

Soon after the class was lunch where we are used to a nutritional standard Amit lunch. We then decided, because we wouldn’t have time to go later, we needed to do a supermarket shop for Poland. So we followed two Amit girls to the local Gilo supermarket and began our shop, loading up our trolleys ready for the next day. Then we had a nice walk back, giving us time to explore the Gilo area, and started our second last class of tefilla. Learning tefilla over the trip has been amazing as we pray the same prayers at least 3 times a day, and before this trip I didn’t know what I was saying and it didn’t mean much to me. I have learnt the meaning of most of the prayers, and now praying is so meaningful to me.

To end the last day of Midrasha we went to a class called ‘Meaning in Mitzvot’ where we learnt realistic scenarios when to save a life. For example you are in a desert with a friend, with your one and only bottle of water. You need a whole bottle to survive. If you don’t drink the whole thing you die. Do you drink it? Do you give it to your friend? Or do you split it? This made for some interesting discussion.

After our day we were all excited for a retake of last week’s volunteering with the best Beit Hayeled boys, however this time we were making Chanukkiot with the boys. Then we all gathered into a small classroom with Naomi, the organiser, for a debrief of Midrasha - how much we loved it and what could be improved for the following years. We all gave positive thoughts. For me I thought it was an amazing opportunity. I have gained so much knowledge from every class and gained so many relationships with the Amit girls. The teachers were always so approachable and knowledgeable that we were able to learn interesting facts in every class. The only downside a lot of us had was that it was too short but the fun lasted and none of us girls wanted to leave!

The bus picked us up not long after and we went to the hotel to quickly offload our suitcases into
our rooms and then 5 minutes later we had to be back down stairs to go for our farewell dinner. We were feeling a bit upset it was coming to end but we were ravenous, so we raced down to The Blue Hall Music for dinner, which was a vibey restaurant where we were served a 5 Star meal. There was meat galore including beef, chicken and steak as well as salad and vegetables. A few jokes werecracked by David and it was great to bond with everyone. This was a huge upgrade from our hotel dinners. We even got some balsamic olive oil with our bread which reminded us of home. To end the night we walked back to the hotel and davened a quick, yet meaningful Maariv, as our last prayers of Na’aleh 2017.

We made our way upstairs to a proper farewell, where the chairs were set in a semi-circle, and little did we know, we were in for a big surprise. Riss sets up a kahoot with questions and answers and we all log into it on our phones. The questions included information and knowledge we had learnt over the past 2 weeks. We then went around the circle and said what we learnt and our highlights for the trip. Some included the lessons and what we had taken from them. A few people felt that this group of people was so nice and small and we got along so nicely and did things we wouldn’t have done on IST. To end off David, Riss, Ronnen and Jordan each reflected on the trip, listing the lessons we learnt, what they observed, and reminding us of all the positive things. David ended off by giving us Na’aleh T-shirts designed by the madrichim. The tops were personalised and listed a few funny quotes that had been said. We also all had funny nicknames.

Last but not least we went for our last Katzefet on Ben Yehuda and bought the last few things we needed. With only 3 hours to spare before we had to leave, we got back to the hotel and packed/sorted our suitcases for Poland. And before we knew it the bus was here to take us to the airport - it was both happy and sad. We all left the Montefiore hotel in our new T-shirts and boarded the bus exhausted.

Thank you to all the madrichim, staff and organisers who made this trip happen. It has been an unforgettable experience and we won’t just let this end here. We have loved every second and are very grateful for the amount of planning and organising that was put into this. We are all so sad this has come to an end but are ready to embark on another journey in about 3 hours!

All my love Erin Zimerman, and Na’aleh 2017!

Day 1: Netzach, Paris - Zach Moses 

Na'aleh Day 13: Leila Freedman