Sunday, June 21, 2009

reflections, part 3

An excerpt from my Birthright journal: Day 9 - Saturday, June 21, 2008

"Today was yet another incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Ali G., Jill and I walked to the Goldenberg family's apartment to spend Shabbat lunch with them. David Goldenberg was a Rabbi, but for English-speaking beginners in Judaism. They were an older couple with a family friend. They fed us a five-course meal that was really great. We talked and asked and answered and really learned a lot. Also, it was a ton more walking (and sweating). We got back to the hotel after three and a half hours of lunch, and got to swim a little, then get ready for the evening.

We went to Ben Gurion Street which was SO much fun, just hanging out, shopping, drinking on a street filled with people and excitement. Then we headed to a bar/club that was pretty small, but was literally the most fun I've had in a long, long time. Everyone just danced and was dripping in sweat, and it didn't matter. Matt and I tore up the dance floor and just really had the time of our lives. Everyone was just dancing with everyone, and I can't imagine a more perfect night out. Of course, getting everyone to leave was tough, especially since most of the soldiers had come out to meet us, so no one wanted to say goodbye. The bus left without several of our group members, including Rachel and Jeanine. Bev stayed behind to round the rest of the gang up, and head back to the hotel via cab. I was locked out of our hotel room for a little bit of time, but soon the girls made it back, just to leave to go downstairs with a bunch of others. They came back after raiding the hotel kitchen, and I can't even describe the scene of the two of them, olives quiche, bread and eggs in hand, bursting into the room. They are too funny and fun, and we had a fabulous night that I wouldn't mind having every weekend."

This day last year was jam-packed, as evidenced by this excerpt from my journal. I remember that lunch with the Goldenbergs like it was yesterday. It took us a long time to walk to their apartment, and we got lost more than once. We asked someone in the community if they knew where the street was, and they actually knew the Goldenbergs themselves. How nice to belong to a community where people know you by name even several blocks away. Another distinct memory of this lunch was that David Goldenberg called us by our Hebrew names, which was really just a little detail, but meant a whole lot.

The evening portion of June 21 was just as memorable as the day, but for very different reasons. The daytime was all about learning and culture and community and Judaism. The evening was pure fun and enjoyment. The energy on Ben Gurion Street was incredible - so many young Israelis and Americans, just having fun and being together. It was great that we were able to meet up with our new Israeli friends, who had to leave our trip a few days earlier. Really, the bar was very claustrophobic for me, and at first I wasn't sure how much I was going to enjoy it, but once I just let go, and took a deep breath, I ended up having the time of my life. In that moment, I had no worries; I had no cares. I forgot about the extreme lack of sleep; I forgot about my fears. And there was nothing better than just dancing the night away with 30 of my friends, singing and sweating and laughing and living truly in the moment. If I could live that night over again, I would, and I'd do it exactly the same.

No comments: