We returned back to the program feeling rejuvenated and rested after our relaxing free weekend. After being picked up from our respective drop-off points, we arrived at the children's museum in Holon, where we were reunited with one another over a delicious lunch. Being back with the 'IST family' felt so good! People were laughing, chatting, and exchanging hilarious stories of their weekend adventures, before being invited into the museum itself. We split up into 3 groups, and went to either the blind museum, the deaf museum or the time museum.
I elected to go into the Blind Museum, where Eitan, our visually impaired tour guide (who gradually become blind at the age of 23), directed us through the museum. As we toured through the pitch black museum, our other senses were heightened. Each room depicted a different environment and scenario, all of which could be encountered on a day to day basis. Peculiar sounds, smells and objects flooded my senses. The simulated vegetable shop in particular was a highlight; where we had to distinguish between the different fruit and vegetables just by their feel and smell. After that room, we moved on and stepped onto a platform. Some people sat on the wooden benches whilst others stood gathered together, and all of a sudden, the platform started swaying. Water was splashed at us, sound effects were employed, and soon we realized that we were actually on a virtual boat.
We were then presented with the challenge of purchasing food from the canteen. The room was pitch black and the workers were also visually impaired. I experienced ordering and paying in pure darkness and admired how the workers could distinguish between each coin.
Walking outside the museum towards the light, we were all raving about our experience. Having been exposed to what it is like to be blind even for half an hour, truly instilled in each one of us a big sense of gratitude for our eyesight. As we exited the museum, we were lucky enough to see what our tour guide looked like, yet felt empathetic as our tour guide has not seen himself in over 20 years.
Our group gathered again at the beach front of Tel Aviv just in time for the sunset. I once again felt gratitude for being able to see, as I gazed upon the beautiful view.
After dinner in our hotel, we were given the opportunity to attend Tobi Schnieder’s wedding, where we rejoiced in the wonderful occasion and gave our best wishes to the bride and groom. The ruach was absolutely crazy- we sang and danced together with the family and friends of the newlyweds, and experienced the authenticity of a Jewish wedding.
Whilst it was nice to have some time off the program for a free weekend, we are all definitely happy to be back with the group again, to experience this journey of a lifetime together as one.