Day 39: Lehava, Israel - Jackie Small

JR5D5438.jpg

Today we embarked on our final full day on IST. Day 40. Many of us were very excited that we would be returning home very soon and others were extremely sad that this incredible journey was over. The day started off with a lovely sleep in till 10.00am, as it was Shabbat. All of us were very excited as the wake-ups on a normal day were between 4:30am-8.00am. All 160 kids, minus a few who were still sleeping, came down from our rooms to enjoy breakfast.

After breakfast, we had a bit of free time, so I chose to go play jungle speed with my friends while waiting for Musaf. Straight after Musaf, we had chaburot (group discussions) where we split up into our family groups, however, our madrichim had swapped and my family group had a chabura with Simone Goldman. Our chabura was an interesting talk about our Jewish Identity, and we discussed our Jewish community, values, and how we feel towards Zionism. We were asked enlightening questions on these topics and we discussed amongst our group.

Following our chaburot, we headed back up to the hall where we had dinner on Friday night to enjoy a nice catered lunch by the chef at Ramat Rachel. After we benched, we were told we had 2.5 hours of free time until we had to be back for Seudat Shlishit. Most people played games, chilled with mads, caught up on some sleep or packed up their suitcases. I chose to play dobble and jungle speed, while also managing to pack a bit.

Once free time was over everyone headed back to our seperate allocated dining room for Shabbat because in the public dining room, Moriah took over the whole area! Following Seudat Shlishit, IST split up into our sides - Lehava and Netzach, to have our final activity as a side. Our side played the song game, where we had to get into pairs and the person in the middle had to ask us to sing our line and try to find the pairs.

Shortly after we davened Maariv, Havdallah followed after. Havdallah is my favourite part of Shabbat. We all formed a circle for the final time together as IST. I was fortunate enough to hold the Havdallah candle with Sabrina Zulman. Once Havdallah was over, this meant Shabbat was out, and everyone ran back to their rooms to check their phones. We were told we had free time to get changed, shower or chill until we had to meet at 7:00pm to head on the buses for the farewell party.

Excited for this farewell party, everyone ran straight for the buses. Around 45 minutes later, we had arrived at our destination and all got off the bus and were a bit confused. All we saw was a cliff in the pitch black. After standing there for a few minutes, Ilan Lavan had decided that we were in the wrong place and hopped back onto the bus to drive to the correct spot. Funnily enough, the drive was only a minute and they had just gone too far to the top.

Upon arrival at Eretz Bereshit, many people were underwhelmed, and described this place as looking similar to the Bedouin tents we had stayed in a few weeks back. There were two tents at this place; one for food and the other for the music. Everyone packed into the food tent as typical IST fashion, we were all starving, as if we hadn’t eaten in days! Before we knew it, the smell of pita and hummus had woken us all up, and we all rushed over to the food.

Once we had finished dinner, we all moved into the other tent, which had a DJ at the front with coloured lights flashing. The music started off with Hebrew songs, however as the night went on lots of old songs from 2010-2017 were played, which brought back a lot of memories for most of us. After dancing for around 2 hours, sadly the party was over in which we all got back on the bus. This was the last bus night ride together, which was definitely one to remember forever. After arriving back at the hotel at around 11:00pm, we all packed and tried to get some sleep, however many people got minimal sleep due to there being no curfew for the first time ever!

As the closing of IST is near, I would like to say that it has been a complete rollercoaster of dips and dives from 6:00am wake-ups, camel riding mornings, long but memorable bus rides, free weekends with family and friends, Kinneret cruise parties AND when we have three advocacy speakers in a row and virtually the whole room falls asleep... Oops. The experience up until today has been unimaginable. The group has gone through thick and thin together, and becoming so much closer as a result. IST is so far the highlight of my high school journey at Moriah College.

I cant wait to enjoy our last day here tomorrow, and am very excited to see my family and friends. Missing everyone and see you all soon

Day 40: Lehava, Israel - Sabrina Zulman

Day 39: Netzach, Israel - Shaun May