Sunday, October 23, 2011

gilad shalit

These past few weeks have been insane! Holiday after holiday lead to a very packed and confusing schedule for the past three weeks. For sukkot, I visited one of my counselors from this past summer, and stayed at her house in Rishon. I also went to a barbecue at another one of my counselor's houses; it was so great to see everyone! After two days of vacation, I was off to the Kineret. For the next six days, I was hiking from the Kineret to the Mederteranian Sea on a program called Yam El Yam, or Sea to Sea. It was a grueling but extremely rewarding experience. I went six straight days without showering, we slept in the wilderness, we cooked our own meals, and had to navigate ourselves on the right trails. On the last day of hiking, after a strenuous hike up to some crusader castles, a loud rumbling noise was heard over head. All of a sudden, several helicopters flew over us and landed across the valley. If you are unaware of the events occurring in Israel right now, Gilad Shalit, an Israeli solider who was kidnapped more than five years ago, has been released to Israel in exchange for 1,027 Palestian prisoners. The deal was only made official last week, and I was so excited to be in Israel when Gilad was finally able to return home. I never would have expected to physically see him land! We watched as the helicopters landed, and we were so close we could hear cameras flashing. I can't even begin to explain how shaken I was, and how absolutely amazing I feel knowing that I experienced first hand a part of Israeli history. The next day, we biked the last two miles down to the Mederteranian Sea, and got to swim in the ocean, as well as dump a bottle of water we took from the Kineret into the Mederteranian Sea. It was an absolutely outstanding experience. After Yam el Yam, we visited Kibbutz Gezer for a Simchat Torah celebration. We sat through services (some of the most fun I've had in a long time) and danced the night away with my friends (and ate about five or six granny smith apples; I think I'm obsessed). I hope you all had a very very happy holiday who ever celebrated! My parents are flying out tomorrow; I'm so excited to show them Israel!!! Chag Sameach!

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