The Hills are Alive…

With the sound of my Ipod, with the sound of change, with the sweet smell of fall, with the beauty of the land. I am in awe of a country to small with such a variety in the landscape, climate and culture. Yesterday, as part of orientation for Schechter, we went up north by bus for the day. Our bus pulled out of Schechter at 7:50am and by 10:30 we were up north. We spent the day tyourning different sites of the earliey zionsits, the second Aliyah and the 1920’s. The point of our first two tiyulim were to understand the complexities of the country, see the dream and the reality, ideal and truth. And we certainly have seen that and more. This did not stem only from this trip, but from living in Israel. Ideally, the Jewish country would be run with Jewish morals and values, human dignity and respect would be paramount. This is obviously not the case given the recent governmental issues, the probelms with the religious vs. secular Jews and so much more.
It was wonderful to finally exit Jerusalem and see more of the country. In order ot go north, we first drove south, and into the west bank and then continued our way up north. My day entailed gorgeous views out the widnow of the desert, the barren land, small settlements, camels, cows, and then as we moved north, greenery and mountains. The beautiful flowers of the north, the full kinneret in all her majesty and so much more. The land so rich with beauty, with lessons, with love. I sat on the bus, absorbed in the sounds of my ipod, and the wonders of creation. I saw how much I have grown since I last sat on a bus and traveled the country, how much I have changed, and how much I am still so deeply in love and enamoured with the country. This country has brought me so much, and i feel as though i have given so little back in return. I have grown as an individual in the last 6 weeks I have been here, I grew as a Jew here, I grew into myself i this land, found myself. So many firsts were had in this special place; my first kiss, my first relationship, my first pomegranate, my first time living completely on my own, my first time putting on tefillin in the old city. Each day brings with it a new first, and I can’t wait to experience them, feel them, grow with them.
I had meant ot write so much more about the experience, but I am feeling exhausted, rushed and overwhelmed with emotion these days. In a nut shell, School will probably be an incredible experience. The JTS people are overwhelming, but a wonderful group. It is really great to hav such vast personalities and new faces and opinions in my learning. I am excited for the year, ready for what it brings, open to the beatuy it will bring me, the change that comes… I stand here, Hineni in Eretz Yisrael, ready for it all!

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