Day 8 - Netzach - Kiara Cohen
After a long and confronting week, we woke up bright and early ready to begin our next chapter of this exciting journey - travelling to Israel.
We boarded the plane and reality finally sunk in; everyone was faced with a mixture of different emotions. Personally, I was feeling quite nervous as I was about to experience my first time in Israel. I was both excited and curious to see if this experience would live up to my expectations. As we got closer to landing, our cohort started enthusiastically singing ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ and ‘Hatikva’ representing how our year had united over the past week and the extreme highs we were about to experience together in Israel.
Once we had left the Tel Aviv airport, we were warmly welcomed with delicious Israeli pastries and snacks before boarding the busses. We began our drive to Jerusalem and the bus was filled with laughter and Israeli music.
As we approached the Kotel, adrenaline was running high and everyone was preparing themselves for what was to come. We began to walk towards the Kotel, which for many, including myself would be the first time. Half way between our arrival and the kotel, we had a ruach session; singing and dancing all together, finally realising that we were about to stand and experience the holiest place in the world. After this I was blindfolded along with everyone else who hadn’t seen the Kotel. The walk was extremely scary and exhilarating...it was the most amazing feeling not being able to tell where you were going but knowing where you would be. As we walked down the stairs and around the old city I began to question how I would react, but I didn’t want to place any expectations on how I would feel.
After the long walk, we were told to stand together as we had finally arrived. We began to sing ‘Achenu’, and then Ilan told us to take our blindfolds off. As my friends took my blindfold off, I was left speechless by what I saw and was overcome with an energy that I had never felt before. Filled with shock and disbelief as we stood in front of the long awaited Kotel, feeling a strong sense of pride. Although seeing millions of pictures and hearing stories no words can do the Kotel justice. We starting singing and dancing as a year group, celebrating and uniting in our homeland.
After many photos, smiles and hugs we walked down to the women’s section where we finally got to touch the wall and pray. Praying is something that I often struggle with, however standing there with our year group after the hard week that we had just experienced allowed me to feel a deep connection to Judaism and to Hashem. The overpowering emotions that I felt whilst standing there was truly incredible.
After we finished Maariv, we walked through the old city and arrived at a beautiful restaurant that had a gorgeous view of the whole of Jerusalem. Whilst having a lovely meal, we had time to catch up with past Sherut girls and Hesder boys. Soon enough we were leaving and on the way to our first hotel in Jerusalem.
Today was an incredible day and one that I know that I will never forget!