by Samantha K., Fall 2013 Student
Israel has always been a place I’ve wanted to go. It’s been this amazing place I’ve learned about in Sunday School. It’s been something I am connected to. Now that I’m finally here on NFTY EIE it is surreal. Living on Kibbutz Tzuba and hearing Hebrew everywhere it definitely a huge change from home. But I don’t think I actually understood that I made my way to Israel until we went to the Kotel and the Old City. Walking around seeing the Dome of the Rock and the old white cobblestone I have seen in so many pictures filled me with such awe like I couldn’t believe that this time, it was actually me in Israel.
When we finally got to the Kotel, I realized why I came to Israel. Besides the friendships, the classes, and the food, I came here to experience Judaism in a different way, a way that connects me to all other Jews around the world. At the Kotel, our principal told us that we were standing where all Jews around the world were facing. While, all our lives, we have faced east from the United States towards the Kotel, now we were simply facing the wall, seeing it with our own eyes, placing our foreheads against it and feeling the old, withered, incredible stone.
Now that I have fully realized that I’m actually here, I’m so incredibly excited to soak it all up and experience everything that is Israel in the rest of our four months to come!