After a long and emotional week in Poland, we can both say with confidence that the whole IST group was eager to leave the gloomy atmosphere of Poland to arrive in the beautiful country of Israel. The excitement on the flight was evident among us all as we landed in the Holy Land.
As soon as we left the airport, the fresh Israeli air hit our faces and we all felt excitement as our Israeli journey on IST truly began for the next five weeks. After collecting our luggage and new sim cards, we boarded the buses and prepared to see the Kotel. As soon as we arrived, we were surprised by visits from our Israeli madrichot from past years, and were filled with joy and excitement. The atmosphere felt surreal and we couldn't believe that we were finally looking at the Kotel, the very Wall that holds so much history and importance to the entire Jewish nation. While standing in front of the Wall with our peers, Ilan Lavan shared a few emotional and inspirational words of wisdom that made us feel connected to the land and proud of our Jewish identity and heritage. For many of our friends, it was their first visit and it was so special to witness their reactions as we helped remove their blindfolds to see the Wall for the first time and to share their emotional connection with them.
After taking many photos, praying and seeing tears of joy being shed, we made our way to the nearby Montefiore restaurant where all of us indulged in the Israeli food that we had been dreaming about. Maybe our opinion is a little biased due to our comparison of food in Poland, but we feel like it is fair to say that this meal was the best one we'd had in a very long time. We all enjoyed reuniting with the other side, seeing our old friends and meeting new ones. After an extremely exhausting yet eventful long day, everyone was eager to arrive in the hotel and finally have a well-deserved sleep. Although daunting, finding out who our new and random roommates are for the next 2 days would prove to have a positive outcome, causing everyone to step outside their comfort zones and create new friendships.
Overall, Israel has been unforgettable so far and we both can't wait to be spending 5 weeks in this beautiful country!