[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 11 of 11] Shorashim

In the midst of the heat wave, we spent the שבת (Shabbat) on קיבוץ אלמוג (Kibbutz Almog). The day was relaxing, yet it was mentally taxing due to (a) the heat, and the inability to go in the pool, (b) the sadness of leaving shortly after sundown.

You can read the original post by clicking on this paragraph.

The name of our Birthright trip organizer, שורשים (Shorashim) means “roots” in Hebrew. Therefore, I would like to reflect on that both from the Birthright trip, as well as what is happening right now–there is a link in a way!

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[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 9 of 11] Music in Israel

28 July 2011. We woke up around 03:45, were on the bus at 04:29, hiked Masada, I fell on the way down, and missed the Dead Sea.

I could give a five-years-later reflection on the first six hours of my waking on this day, but I feel like that would be blogging. about. flogging. a. dead. horse.

Another major aspect of the day was music, and I feel that it was seriously underrated in my original account of the day. In fact, the musical aspect of the day may have been one of the greater legacies that remains today! So, let’s talk about it. And then, at the end of the post, I’ll give some of my favorite photos from the day.

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[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 7 of 11] Sinat Chinam (and Ahavat Chinam)

Five years ago, we went to תל אביב for an Israeli resources fair (an unexpected itinerary change), went to the שוק (market), and also יד ושם (the Holocaust memorial). The original journal entry is clickable: this sentence.


As I mentioned yesterday, today’s blog post will be a bit of a heavy topic: שנאת חינם (sinat chinam: baseless hatred). Unfortunately, it seemed that the Holocaust (and World War II for that matter) was grounded in baseless hatred. Thus, I want to reflect on it, as well as thinking about what I saw in the museum five years ago.

A look at the exterior of the Yad Vashem museum.

A look at the exterior of the Yad Vashem museum.

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[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 5 of 11] Awwwwwesome

Today’s blog post reflects on the Sunday of the Birthright trip in 2011, when we went to צפת (Safed) and תל אביב (Tel Aviv). Click on this sentence to see the original entry.


When I look back on the Sunday of the trip, I can summarize it in three independent words:

  • Art
  • Awesome
  • History

And I will briefly reflect on what each of them mean to me five years later.

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[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 4 of 11] A Shabbat in Israel

 

The original journal entry spanned the welcoming of the sabbath and continued through the remainder of Friday and Saturday, July 22-23, 2011. Find it by clicking this sentence.


My first שבת (Shabbat) in Israel was wonderful, and was really only my second time truly getting to enjoy a Shabbat experience. (The first time was earlier in 2011, when KOACH Kallah was at Northwestern.)

Prior to the trip, שבת usually meant going to services on Friday evening and/or Saturday morning. However, in my undergraduate years, I did not take sabbatical time from homework. Therefore, I used to be a particularly nasty hypocrite by going to services but then doing homework at other points of the day!

Though I had enjoyed שבתות prior to my first Israel experience, the fact that I was much more intimately involved with the spirit of the day, and with potentially like-minded people (though I later found out that I was one of the most ritually-observant of the Americans, which wasn’t saying very much…) made it a special experience. Moreover, it inspired me to make future שבתות, even in the States, like this one.

It was really special for me to go to services the next morning, even though there was no מיניין (quorum of 10 Jewish adults, and male since the synagogue on קיבוץ פרוד (Kibbutz Parod) was Orthodox) there [as I said in my journal, I was the only trip-goer who was up at that hour! Ha!]. Getting to take in services with Israelis, though maybe not an initial goal of mine, became a highlight of the trip. I would love to go back at some point, and maybe find a מסורתי (Masorti: Conservative) synagogue to compare and contrast to, say, Beth Jacob, Tifereth Israel, or Beth Hillel-Congregation B’nai Emunah.

Realizing that enjoying שבת involves negative commandments (e.g. don’t use electricity or fire, don’t do “work,” don’t write, etc.), there are also plenty of things that one SHOULD do, such as be joyous, study תורה (Torah), and relax. This relaxation involved icebreaker games on Friday evening, conversations throughout the 25 hours, swimming in the pool on the Saturday afternoon, and playing card games. And getting sunburnt… just joshing about that being relaxing on the latter!

Since Birthright ended, I have refrained from academic or professional work on שבת, but still do other types of מלכות (forbidden work on Shabbat) like driving, travelling by bike, writing, or using a computer for entertainment purposes. However, when I am with Jewish friends, it is much easier to avoid some of these acts. The שבתות that I have spent with my (non-Birthright) friend Sarah’s family this year have been fully relaxing, with reading, walks, Bananagrams, and conversations. No need for computers or TV when this occurs!  Additionally, this was true at Northwestern Hillel in the subsequent years when I would go to Saturday services. (Even though I was usually not good at Settlers of Catan!)

Therefore, the consideration of שבת was one major impact of Birthright on me.

And tomorrow, I will be reflecting on the trip to צפת (Safed) and/or the Independence Museum in תל אביב (Tel Aviv).

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Check out the remaining entries in this sequence!

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective] The Travel To Israel

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 2 of 11] Achim Simcha

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 3 of 11] Take a hike!

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 4 of 11] A Shabbat in Israel (You are here!)

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 5 of 11] Awwwwwesome

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 6 of 11] Primary Sources

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 7 of 11] Sinat Chinam (and Ahavat Chinam)

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 8 of 11] Coming soon!

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 9 of 11] Coming soon!

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 10 of 11] Coming soon!

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 11 of 11] Coming soon!

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Kenosha: 9 days.

Orientation: 23 days.

Day 1: 46 days.

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