Days feel like weeks & weeks feel like days.

Week two// April 27 – May 2

{{Just a heads up: this is my post for Week Two, but I’ve already been living here for over three weeks.  I’m behind…sorry about it. Week Three post coming tomorrow, and Week Four post coming later this week (which will then put me back on schedule). My bad.}}  

As our madrichot (aka counselors) (and by the way our counselors are AMAZING) wisely told us on one of the first few days of the session– Days feel like weeks, and weeks feel like days here.

At the time, I didn’t really know what they meant, but now that I’m here and settled in, I understand exactly what that phrase means.  I look back on the past few weeks since my last blog post, and time has flown by faster than I can put into words.  At the same time, every day we wake up early, go to sleep late, and do a million things in one day.  Each day feels very long, but in the best possible way.  It really can’t be said better– days feel like weeks, and weeks feel like days. Here are some things I did on the second week…

Holidays: I’m certain this is one of the best times of year to be in Israel.  Not only has the weather not gotten too hot, but there are tons of holidays that we get to experience while we’re here.  All of these holidays in a row meant very few days of class, which was great, and a nice way to get a glimpse of Israeli society.

Yom HaShoah: Holocaust Memorial Day.  Israel observes this day with a siren sounding all across the country for one minute.  During the siren, all life stops: people get out of cars in the middle of the highway, pedestrians stand in the middle of crossing the street, shopkeepers come out of their stores, and everything is still.  If you’re unfamiliar with this tradition, I highly encourage you to watch a video of it online.  It’s extremely chilling and powerful, especially to know that all of Israel is reflecting in the same moment.

Yom Hazikaron: Israeli Memorial Day. As Israelis like to point out, their Memorial Day is much different from the traditional American pool party and barbecue.  Yom Hazikaron remembers Israeli fallen soldiers and victims of terror with two sirens, one in the evening at the start of the holiday, and one the next morning.  (Israeli holidays last from sundown to sundown.)  The evening of, we attended a ceremony geared towards English-speaking students studying in Israel, where we heard the life stories of several victims.  The next day, we attended another memorial service hosted by the Israeli school on our campus (called Mosenson).  This one was entirely in Hebrew, but it provided an interesting perspective on how high school students observe the holiday.

Yom Hatzmaot: In a strange turn of events, the minute the sun goes down on somber Yom Hazikaron, Independence Day begins.  Yom Hatzmaot is celebrated more like Memorial Day in the US – the evening of, we went to an incredibly fun Israeli concert at a nearby park.  We spent the next day at the beach where we saw military planes fly over, and we had a fun barbecue on campus.

Israeli Unit Test: In Israeli history class, we had our first big unit test on the Tanach (the Hebrew bible), including an essay on the prophets.  It was certainly challenging, and we covered a lot of material in a very short amount of time, but our lovely madrich Batel brought us chocolate fondue to help with the studying.  And now, you can ask me anything about the first testament: I’m officially a master. Thankfully, right after our test we took a break from classes because it was Shabbat.

Open Shabbat: Several of our weekends on the program are what’s known as “Open Shabbat.”  We have the opportunity to leave campus and stay with a host if we have any connections to people living in Israel.  I was lucky enough to be able to stay with my mom’s-college friend’s-high school friend (very easy to explain) who just so happened to live in a nearby town called Kfar Saba  Their hospitality was amazing, Shabbat dinner was delicious, and it was so nice to take a break from campus life.

Week two was relatively uneventful, but I definitely began to feel settled in on campus and in my dorm.  My group is incredible and I’m so grateful to get to spend more time with them. The adventures continue!

Sorry that this post was long overdue.