Day 29: Shvil - Jared Brett

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After a comfortable sleep, the day started with Mark Gluckman knocking on our room door at 6:45am. Since I was the only one up, I gingerly went to the door and let him in. When Mark entered he turned on the lights of the room in an attempt to wake us up. This didn’t work, because exactly when he left the room, Dylan Sherman, Adam Lipschitz and I came to a decision to sleep in. We did so. I turned off the lights and we went back to bed. At 7:30am panic entered the room as we realised that we would be late to breakfast and tefilla! We then proceeded to rush to get ready for our day ahead.

Today was the start of the first options on IST; for me and 60 others, we all decided to choose ‘Shvil Yisrael’, otherwise known as the hike. Due to the early wake up, most of us were tired and weary for the day ahead. With a lot of people having embarked on their Gadna experience yesterday, the hotel was quiet, which is a rare sight on IST.

We all got on the bus after breakfast. The bus made a stop, where we met the kids from Netzach and for some of us, we saw our friends for the first time in nearly a week. This lifted our spirits as we started to face the reality that we were all about to commence what many before have said is ‘the best experience in the whole of IST’.

After the two hour bus ride we arrived at Sde Boker (the beginning of the track) where there was a mix of excitement and nervousness. As we were getting off the bus, all of us were in informed that the Netzach bus was running 30 minutes late and for the first time on the trip, Lehava was on time.

Later, we enjoyed lunch as a group, eating pita, hummus and cold meat slices - a nice kosher meal!

It was now time.  We all sat down in a circle while the guide gave us some basic instructions for the hike. Shvil had finally started. As we began the hike towards the first stop, we encountered the picturesque Negev. We walked past rocky valleys and mountainous terrain. For many of us it was a great opportunity to catch up with friends from the other side and learn about there IST experiences so far.

After about 3 hours of hiking through the Negev, we arrived at the camp that we were staying at. We all had to set up camp for the night ahead. From cutlery to sleeping bags, it took many of us to get everything organised. As the sun started to set the temperature fell too, making everyone cold.

The leader told us to gather a mattress and a sleeping bag, and just about everyone had a difficult night of sleeping. Sixty Moriah and Masada kids, with one sleeping bag and a mattress, there had to be some complaining in the end.

The most important moment had arrived, we stood in a circle close together because of the cold. We were being told our tent buddies for the night ahead. Anticipation set as Katzy read out the tents for the night and thankfully everyone got the buddy they wanted. After setting up the rooms, dinner came. We all were given roles for dinner to make it a short and simple wait.  As dinner was coming in, we all listened to music in the chilly weather. Dinner was rush hour. It’s hard to stop 60 hungry teenagers from eating.

We all then enjoyed a lovely bonfire with Katzy enlightening us with his song lyrics. The bonfire stayed alive long through the night. We all have high hopes for the day ahead!

Day 29: Gadna - Jay Karney and Alicia Vidor

Day 28, 29, 30: Medical Clowning - Matthew Blau & Ashlee Corrick