Day 13 & 14 - Lehava - Jade Mezei
Our first IST Shabbat was spent in the North of Israel on a kibbutz called Ohalo Manor, on the banks of the Kinneret. Everyone looked very smart, dressed in their shabbat clothes and it certainly brought the Shabbat vibe into our hostel. We had a beautiful Kabbalah Shabbat service and we were blessed to have a few other people from the community join us. It was an incredible start to our Israel experience. Our first activity was a limmud in family groups We had a very engaging and informative discussion about Jewish Laws (a real Halachic debate). Every one of us was captivated by the topic and the level of interest was so intense, that there was never a silent moment amongst us.
Shabbat dinner was, as always, a highlight. The food was really good! An amazing and inspirational talk from Woolfy (David Wolfowitz) followed, keeping us entertained and engrossed in the Shabbat spirit. We ended our beautiful night with a memorable Tisch that touched everybody's hearts. The singing was so beautiful and meaningful and strengthened our groups’ bond even more.
We were fortunate to have a much needed ‘sleep-in‘ the next morning - a real treat after all the early mornings. Most of us slept until 10:00am, reflecting our busy, exhausting but extremely enjoyable week. Another beautiful shule service was followed by a delicious Shabbat lunch. We were then given a few hours of free time that was well deserved. Everyone took advantage of the time spent relaxing with friends both old and new... it was truly AMAZING! The boys all played soccer which was going well, until Dean fell and dislocated his shoulder, adding a touch of drama to an otherwise peaceful Shabbat.
Shabbat concluded on a real high as, after havdala, we went into Tiberius and ate dinner at a fancy restaurant right on the water with a view like no other. It really made us feel grateful and aware that we were living, at present, in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. We continued to enjoy the amazing scenery with an awesome boat party, where the lights on the surrounding hills danced before us. Such a fantastic way to end our first Shabbat experience and it definitely left us wanting more.
On Sunday we packed our things and headed back to Jerusalem. The girls were given the opportunity to hear from two of the most amazing speakers while the boys went to Yeshiva. Their knowledge and perseverance in all aspects of life was truly inspirational and excited many of us girls for the future ahead.
A visit to the ZDVO concluded our schedule. It was here that we were given the opportunity to listen to some really interesting and inspirational stories by wounded soldiers who were in rehabilitation, who had devoted their lives to protecting our Holy Land. Each and every one of us was touched by their incredible stories of bravery and we felt so grateful to them for protecting our friends and families living in Israel. To end the ZDVO experience, we were privileged and greatly moved by the opportunity to play wheelchair basketball. It was here that we put ourselves in the shoes of some of our wounded soldiers. Although confronting, we had the most fantastic time. It really was a highlight of our trip so far. We ended the night with another great meal and time to reflect on what I would definitely say, was the greatest Shabbat I have ever experienced!