שבועות (Shavout)

Having the week off has been really nice. I have really been enjoying the Holidays in Israel. This weeks Holiday is Shavout. Just like most holidays here all the families get together and have big meals. I was just planning on going to the Kibbutz’s Dining Hall with Idan. However, I got a facebook message from an Israeli camper, Amit, I had in 2007, inviting me to his house for dinner. I called him up and we worked out how I could get there. He lives in Reuit/Modin’in, about halfway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. This normal would be very easy for me to get there, but on Jewish Holidays there is no public transportation. After many phone calls, his Mom had a friend in Tel Aviv that could pick me up and go to the house. I met him at the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv and we drove to my friend’s house. On the way I learned that his brother is a general in charge of placing new soldiers in their units. He offered me his help if I need it…which is a very good offer. Now if you don’t really know how Israel works, you will learn its all about connections. You almost always have to have connections to get anywhere, especially in the IDF. I am glad this is has always been one of my strengths in life.

When I got to Amit’s House, there were two other lone soldiers there. Amit’s mom is an American that moved to Israel many years ago after she married an Israeli. She now helps lone soldiers in her spare time. The other soldiers were really nice. We had a good time getting to know each other and talking about the Army. This small town were we where is an old village for high ranking officers in the IDF. Everyone we met had some high position when they were in the IDF. A very nice lady came over to us and started to ask what we do in the Army and learning our stories. She was very impressed and gave us her phone number, in case we need any help. She and her husband are generals too. We had a great dinner, even though all I ate was salad and cheese (with my pills).

I then planned to return to my Kibbutz because my favorite Israel band, Hadag Nahash, was having a concert at our Kibbutz Water Park. Amit really wanted to go, but he is not yet 18, the age of entrance. One of his friends, Dan, that was at the dinner wanted to go and was of age. Great, I have a ride back! Dan and I went to pick up another guy to head to concert. I fell asleep almost the whole way and woke up in time to give them directions. We skipped the mess of parking and parked on the Kibbutz…which took some my smooth israeli style maneuvering. We got to the concert. Dan and I got in just fine, but then I learn that the guy we picked up was only 17 too and they would let him in. I tried to explain to the guard that we were from the Kibbutz. I’m a lone soldier and there my only friends…ect. I even talked to the head guy, but no luck for us. I felt really bad that I couldn’t get him in. They just drove me an hour away from their house and didn’t get in. Damn.

So now I was alone at a concert. Not the funnest thing, but not no bad. Plus It was on my kibbutz so I knew I would see someone I knew. Sure enough, 5 mins after walking it, I ran into some friends. Then more friends and a bit more. Perfect! The concert was really great, but it wasn’t too loud because of complaints for the surrounding area. I was there until about 0330. The funniest thing about Israelis is that they always have to have a dance party after an event…aka weddings, concerts, dinners… So for hour and half after the concert was just a giant dance party. So much fun, but I was extremely tired.

On Wednesday, I woke up late and just relaxed most of the day. The kibbutz had a festival with dancing, singing, and speeches. My adopted family then invited me over to their house for dinner. It was a really great night with great food. My adopted mom also made a few things with gluten free flour and had stuff for me to eat. I felt very a part of the family. Overall, I had a great holiday.

Coming Next Week: Last week of basic training. I get to go shooting and sleep in the field.

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