This week, while our participants prepare for shabbat at their host families’ homes, we have a reflection from Elena Press, a participant from Pennsylvania.

What a week! After a spiritual and relaxing Shabbat in Tzfat we headed off to the North! Slurping on Popsicles and chatting with kids we built a bench out of recycled materials and cement at the Neveh Michael Youth Village. Some of us went off to glean (gather leftover harvest) beets. Our attempt to swim in the Mediterranean was unsuccessful as the waves were far too strong but we still enjoyed the beautiful scenery and ruins of Cesaria. That night we were challenged with a seemingly impossible task for teenagers: be completely silent for six hours. Sam reflects, “I enjoyed how all the details around me were magnified and I became aware of my connections with others without speaking.”

We had the opportunity to extensively discuss religion with a Druze and man from the ahmadi sect of Islam. Visiting Gamla we discussed the history of the people during the 67 BC rebellion. We then related the choices the Jews of Gamla made to our lives and the present situation in Israel. All of us are off to separate places for homestay. We’re excited to continue building a supportive and open community in the final two weeks!

Thank you, Elena, and Shabbat Shalom!