What a whirlwind week it has been! After driving up North to our base at Ohalo, we had a session of Participant Led Activities, and went to bed to prepare for a full day Wednesday. Yesterday we had an early wake up, and began to learn more about Israel’s foundations – visiting Havat Kineret to learn about the early pioneers who built the Kibbutz system and agricultural foundation of the Yishuv. We then enjoyed sunset swimming in the Kineret, and a BBQ by the beach. Thursday was also a full day, visiting Zippori and Tzfat, and reading through a play about the early days of the Yishuv. This Shabbat we will spend time together in Tzfat, and then continue on to our community service days and time at Yemin Orde.
Additionally, Fivel has shared with us some thoughts on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz (yesterday and today), which you can read below. Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom!
Today is the beginning of the new month of Tammuz on the Jewish calendar. As we watch the moon renew itself every month, it reminds each of us about the potential to change and become new again throughout the year.Today is particularly poignant both because of the significance of Tammuz, and because we have are in the second week of this summer’s program, transitioning from the Negev Desert and the focus on the individual, to the Galil and the focus on building community.Tammuz is the fourth month of the year, the beginning of the summer months, and the name is connected to ‘heat’. We have a minor fast day later in this month that will begin the three weeks of collective mourning commemorating the the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem thousands of years ago. This is also the month in which Moses stayed on Mount Sinai, receiving revelation while the Jewish People were camped out at the base of the mountain. This is a time that is pregnant with potential. The ‘stakes are high’, as it will be in a few weeks that the Israelites sinned with the Golden Calf, partially because they were intimidated by the potential of being in a direct relationship with Gd and the responsibility for self-actualization that it would require–many of them desired a return to the idolotrous world that existed beforehand. It was too intense to be the harbinger of change and revolution. This month reminds us of the amazing potential to become ourselves on the deepest level, and shows us that our ancestors were unable to accept this responsibility and failed.As our 2016 group shifts gears into the second unit of the program, they too have had their first group meeting, and they are ending the ‘honeymoon’ of the first unit. They stand before a challenging decision: they can dive deeper into the program and manifest their potential as individuals and a group to learn how to build a community of caring and reflective peers that want to build a strong and righteous community. Or they can shy away from this potential and responsibility to have a sweet time in Israel for a summer in high school. We are working to show them what is possible when they choose the former, and choose to live up to that potential without fear, but with vulnerability.I look forward to keeping you posted with their progress!Blessings for a month of manifesting potential and not fearing what we can become!Chodesh tov!