5 things I took away from Israel:
What it means to be Jewish
The people and how laid back they are
Jerusalem’s building codes ensure buildings are made with ancient stone
Going from small town to a big town can be overwhelming
Over winter break I got an amazing opportunity to travel to Israel, this was my third time being in Israel. I got to spend a total of three weeks traveling all around the country with 40 other college students; on a trip called Israelinks which is through the Jewish student organization Chabad.
Throughout the three weeks we explored Israel, our Judaism and what it meant to be Jewish on our college campuses. Each morning we learned for about 3 hours about many different topics including the Jewish life cycles (bris/circumcision, bar/bat mitzvahs, marriages and death), how to be happy, and many other topics.
After we learned we got the opportunity to explore some of the cites and go to some of the holiest sites for the Jews. We stayed in two cities during our stay; Safed and Jerusalem both of them offering different places to see and a whole different experience with each.
Safed is in the northern part of Israel and where the mystical side of Judaism was founded. It is a very small quiet city, it is where we really started to bond as a whole group. After staying in Safed and exploring in and around the city we went to Jerusalem which is probably one of the most well-known cities in the world.
During our time in Jerusalem we continued to explore our Judaism, got to go to one of the holiest places for us; the Western Wall or in Hebrew the Kotel. This is the only remaining part of our ancient temple, where Jews from all around the world come to pray about what are the hopes we have, the worries and what we want G-d to help us with.
Going to the Kotel is always a time to reflect on your life and ask G-d to help your family, friends and your self. Many people write notes and leave them in the wall, it is something that I do every time I have visited the Kotel. Being able to go to Israel is unlike anywhere else in the world, its where you see ancient history and modern day life become one. Walking through Jerusalem going to the places that are in our history books and being able to walk them like our ancestors did so long ago really makes it feel like a home.
Israel is not just a place that you visit it becomes a part of you and by the time you leave it becomes your home. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity I had and the amazing people I meet along the way.