Day 16 - Netzach - Samantha Morris
Our day began with an early 6am wake up. Although all the girls in Netzach slept together, everyone managed to get enough sleep to persevere through our eventful and exciting day. We quickly packed up all our belongings, ate breakfast and then began our morning prayers. During prayers, our madrichot, Chana and Keren taught us another beautiful song from Hallel, to add to our Shabbat tisches and bond as a cohort.
We then separated into two different agricultural farms. Bus one went to an argan tree farm where they weeded the plants and bus two travelled to a vineyard to participate in similar work. During this work with JNF, we were told the story of Cain and Abel which really highlighted the importance of שומר אחי which is defined as “My brothers keeper”. As I was weeding the thorn filled argon trees I began to realise all the hard work that people endure for food, which is something that we all take for granted in our privileged lives. We all think that going to the supermarket to buy fresh produce off the shelves is a huge effort, yet we forget about all the strenuous work completed in order for this to even be possible. Removing the weeds, ensuring the nutrients travel through the plant, restricting parasites and insects from destroying the plants seemed easy - however, today I realised that this job required extensive patience and perseverance.
Furthermore, I was really inspired by the fact that Israel has managed to transform the immensely dry and barren desert into successful agricultural farms.
We then met up with Lehava for delicious Israeli pizza before a scenic hike through the Negev. Climbing the stones and sand was very fun and also challenging as it was a little daunting at the same time.
To end the hike we all congregated at David Ben Gurion’s grave. Sitting together cultivated such an empowering and meaningful feeling. As I looked over vast plains of the Negev desert, I took time to reflect on how far the Jews have come over the last few hundred years. Around seventy years ago the Jews were peripatetic and desired a homeland where they could live safely and happily together as a nation. Gurion transformed this desire into a reality. Experiencing this comforting reality while overlooking the Negev was incredible.
We also heard from the mayor of 22% of Israel. We were very privileged to have to opportunity to hear from him. Additionally, a few people from Netzach shared their positive experiences with the JNF leaders and Lehava who were preparing themselves to embark on the same journey. These speeches allowed me to remember the exciting camel riding, sand duning and agriculture experience.
To peacefully end the day, we drove to the Montefiore Hotel in Jerusalem to begin a journey of spiritual connection to our land. I am looking forward to the next few days, as I now feel the physical connection we developed through the pioneering program.