Day 13: Netzach, Israel - Jessica Shub & Gemma Gold

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Our day started off with an early 6:15 rise for a full day of touring and Shabbat preparation. We had our routine breakfast and prayers, and were on the bus in a timely fashion at 8:15. The girls and boys were split up for the day as we embarked on our journey to Tzfat. Our tour guide, Lavi, took the girls around the old city, which has had a lot of sentimental value to the Jewish community over the past few hundred years. Tzfat is known as one of the four holy cities of Israel because it was one of the main cities that Jews got their wealth and stature from, and one of the main cities which has remained predominantly Jewish over the ages.

We entered many beautiful old shules and were told different stories to do with each one by our tour guide. And despite not having our trusty photographer Josh with us, it was a pleasure to welcome Davi to our group as his replacement. He followed our group all the way around Tzfat until we needed to part ways at the mikveh.

For some of us it was our first mikva experience, however I think we can all agree, when saying that it was one of the most beautiful ones we had ever seen or ever dreamed of seeing. It was an extremely different experience to anything we had ever done before, but also life-changing. We had an odd start to our mikva tour, when the mikveh lady (Sara) put on music and told us to all let go of our bodies and just dance. This was a perfect start to a beautiful tour; all of our minds were clear and ready to hear and understand both the importance and significance of a women immersing herself in the mikva. We took our seats which were all scattered around the room, and listened to Sara's story. She told us about her early life and how she grew as a person, and found the love of her life. Her story was beautiful and inspiring. She then proceeded to ask us questions, and get us all involved. We were on a very tight schedule, so we had to speed things up and therefore got taken around the baths and showers very quickly.

Once we finished at the mikveh, we were given free time for an hour. We all rushed to get food as it had been a mentally draining day - and we were all starving. Most of us had a delicious falafel and mitz rimon (pomegranate juice) which was just what we needed after a "treacherous" walk around the old city of Tzfat. On our way down to one of the shules Gemma and I, as well as a few others, walked past a bakery and smelled the most amazing rugalach. So during our free time when we had just five minutes left, we decided to run as fast as we could to get two, as well as a donut to bring in Shabbat.

Our eating fest didn't stop there, we then moved onto a crepe bar, where our madricha Michal got a nutella crepe and the rest of us got ice blocks to cool down as the sun started to shine and we were all a little bit hot. We then had an hour drive back to Chispin where we were given two hours to get ourselves dressed and ready for a great night ahead of us. Shabbat comes in very early in Israel, so everyone needed to be ready by 4:15 for candle lighting and shule.

After an hour of pampering the girls were finally ready for Shabbat, running in and out of each others rooms asking if their outfits look okay. We were all finally ready and made our way to shule. We had a great Shabbat service; we all danced and sang. After the shule service we had a tochnit in our family groups and then made our way to Shabbat dinner. We made kiddush and had a lovely dinner, and all spoke and ate (lots). We then went to where we had shule, to play a game of Parliament. The game started to heat up, and everyone was having lots of fun. We then had a second round for whoever wanted to play. After this we had an amazing tish which was lead by David Wolfowitz, which lasted about 40 minutes. After this moving Tish, we were all exhausted  from a busy week and most of us ended up going to our rooms for an early night.

Day 13: Lehava, Israel - Elliot Wayne

Day 12: Lehava, Israel - Ryan Mayer