by Sam Abramsky, Mitzvah Corps
When I was asked to be the first to contribute to this blog, I initially thought, “Wow. What can I even say about this place.” After much banter between my heart and mind, I figured it out.
I’ve dreamt about being here for so long. Israel has always been número uno on my NEED TO TRAVEL TO list. Even without knowing the true beauty of this incredible country, Israel has always meant so much to me. My family has talked so much about Israel that it just seems like a dream to actually be here. It doesn’t seem real! Enough about my dreaming. Here’s what’s been going on.
After such a brutal delay thanks to a very, VERY lost bird, we arrived in Tel Aviv two days later than planned. To be honest, I was okay with the delay. Let me explain why. That single bird, may its soul rest in peace, did something only annoying icebreakers can do: bring strangers closer together. Within a day, I was able to unveil the hidden greatness within the amazing people amongst me. I knew I was meant to go to Israel with these awesome individuals. Onto my highlights!
In pieces of writing, there’s always the highlight. So here’s mine: pretty much every moment so far. From the long bus rides to short nights, everyone and everything has made my few days so wonderful. Even though it was the first thing we did, it will be the most memorable for me. Visiting the Western Wall and sticking a note in the smallest crevice I could find is something I don’t have words to describe. I know it isn’t right for me to say “it will be the most memorable” because it was the first day, but trust me when I say it. Please? Good! Let’s move on, shall we? Perfect!
After walking around the Old City, we took our great adventure elsewhere. Specifically, a Bedouin Community. Yeah, a bedouin community. If this is new to you, to summarize what this community represents, it is a community of people who still call the desert their home. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. We learned about how to live in the desert and how to take advantage of it’s properties, we rode camels (which was literally one of the coolest things I’ve ever done), we ate with our hands (sorry mom, I didn’t see a fork), and slept on mats with sleeping bags only to wake up a few hours later to see the sunrise on the top of Masada. Now, I don’t usually like sunrises because I hate waking up super early, but this sunrise was amazing. To be at the top of Masada, where Zealot Jews chose death over slavery, made the experience so much more than just a sunrise. After exploring the top and the ruins that remained, we hiked down. It wasn’t easy zig zagging in the heat, but we did it as a group! We must have consumed about 10 gallons of water collectively. Now, this next segment requires it’s own paragraph.
After hiking, we went to the lowest point on EARTH: THE DEAD SEA!! I’ve had dreams about what it would be like to float on water. People, listen to me when I say it’s the most fun I’ve had in my life. To be able to float in the Dead Sea is like flying with your back to the ground. It’s effortless! AMAZING! Oh, and putting mud on your skin before going in, then washing it off makes your entire body feel like a baby’s butt! SO SOFT! Being with my friends only made it a hundred times better. We laughed, picked up salt (there is no sand in the water, it’s all salt!), and unfortunately getting some of it in our mouths. Yucky.
Well, that’s pretty much what I have to share. There will be incredible posts by others after me, I just wanted to open this blog up with my personal thoughts and experiences. Kids will write about volunteering and so much more, but I guess I can’t cover that! I look forward to it!! But let me close with this. People repeatedly told me “OH EM GEE Israel is incredible you’ll have so much fun.” As a kid, I just nodded and said, “yeah I’m sure.” I now tell past Sam and anyone else in this world that has the same response as me, he or she’s just silly. Israel is a magical place and nothing will ever top the summer I am about to have. So parents, friends, others, thanks for reading. Imma go enjoy some Falafel!