Happy Sunday everyone and Shavah Tov.
I just had a long weekend in Jerusalem and it was a lot of fun. I got invited to speak to this Winter’s “Greeks Build Israel” Alternative Winter Break with the Jewish National Fund and Israel Campus Coalition. I was a participant on this trip in the 08-09 Winter. Everyone on the trip is Jewish and a member of a Fraternity or Sorority. A lot of you know that I am a member of Sigma Alpha Mu “Sammy.” It was really fun to meet up with this trip. I had some crazy adventures; a long cold walk, a fire on a public bus, staying in the Jerusalem Soldier’s Hostel, speaking to the group about my Aliyah/Army Service, and meeting lots of new people.
I headed up to meet the group on Friday Afternoon. I was running a bit late, but thought I would be able to make it to the hotel before heading off to the Kotel (Western Wall). Surprise though, on the way to Jerusalem, my bus’s engine caught on fire! I was sleeping and was woken up with someone screaming that there was a fire. I was in such a daze and the bus was full of smoke. *I guess its more dangerous to be out of the army. Well it really wasn’t too bad, everyone got off the bus and no one got hurt. I was in a hurry though and caught a bus that stopped to help. It was super packed. I didn’t make it in time so I met up with the group at the Kotel. It was very nice, but getting very cold. I met the group and we all did our own prayers. It started to really rain hard when it was time to go… I was very luck though because I had one of the only Umbrellas of the group. I made friends very fast…lol. We then had a hour and half walk back to the Hotel in Beit Vagan. On the way back we stopped at the Gilad Shalit Tent outside the Prime Minister’s House. Gilad’s Parents were there holding Kabalat Shabbat and lots of people were there to pray for Gilad.
We ate at the hotel and then had a session afterwards for me and two other Lone Soldiers to speak to the group. I was joined by one of my good friends that I met on my Trip two years ago. You can read Alex’s Blog here. We all spoke and told our story of being soldiers in the IDF. I really enjoyed it and it was nice to see the reaction we got from the group.
The rest of the weekend we got to have a lot of free time to hangout and meet the participants. They were really great and fun people, I definitely wish I got to spend the whole trip with them. It sounded like they had a very meaningful and fun time in Israel. Alex and I also met up with some of the guys that extended there trip. Always fun to be in Jerusalem after Shabbat.
I had my first stay at a Beit HaChayal (Soldier’s Hostel). They have a very nice one in Jerusalem, but it was full when we arrived. Therefore they put Alex and I in a classroom with a mattress and blankets. It wasn’t too bad, esp because it was free.
Well its back to the Army on Monday. This week could be interesting, as I am thinking about going back to do a more advanced basic training…I won’t get too into it now because I don’t know if it will happen…but its on the radar.
It you were on the AWB trip, here is a shout out to you. You guys and gals were great! Stay in touch and if you have any questions about Israel, Aliyah, IDF, or Advocacy, feel free to get in touch with me. firstname.lastname@example.org (This go’s for anyone else too).
Shalom Peace. 🙂