Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tiyul Tzafon: Day Four: Connecting with Communities in Isreal

14 May 2012
Druze Community

We had stayed at a hostel that night that was really confusing in the dark, and sometimes even in the light. Needless to say, we all spent a good few hours getting lost in the winding roads between the chaletes, and getting locked out side at least three times.

Breakfast consisted of fake fruitloops, much to my disappointment, because all I want in the whole world is legit Fruit Loops.

Emily ran a Ma'amad, and Tara ran a peulah where we had to come up with our own community and make up all the rules and regulations to be a part of our new community. We also learnt a little bit about the druze. As much as one could, what with them being a secret religion and whatnot.
I fell asleep through the movie about the Syrian Bride, that is, coincidentally called 'The Syrian Bride', and only really became fully concious after we had lunch later that day. Falafel and pitah. So goooooooood.

There was a little boy, just casually walking by, he was no taller than your knee, but no less inquisitive about the world. On the pavement, there lay a scrawny Golden Retriever. He had nearly been run over just moments before, and the little boy was hugging him and petting him, like he had just found his long lost best friend. In that moment my Tiyul was made, because its the littlest things, that people take for granted that really matter in the world.

Water was gushing from the pipe that hung over our heads. It was old and rusted from the long years it had stood there, constantly gushing water with no way to stem the flow. We all gathered around it, hot and slightly out of breath from the steep hike up the mountain. It hadn't been a very long hike, but our shoes were soaked with water and it had already been a long day. The rush of the water as it left the pipe, flew through the air and landed with a crash on the rocks below, where a pool was formed, was deafening and no one heard my screams as I slipped and nearly fell to my death. With only a few scratches and a bruise or two I managed to survive my the near death experiences of the hike. The 9 previous ones had all been in the first few steps, when I fell, on my butt, into the river. 
The walk back down the waterfall, was ice-y and slippery, making it hard to hold onto the rocks, but we made it down eventually to a packet of Bamba and another bus ride, and a well deserved nap.

We ate dinner and Tara told our fortunes, before I ran a classic chocolate peulah for the rest of the group. It turns out Naomi will die in 6 years and I'll travel a lot, but possibly have multiple marriages or something along those lines.
Ha! A pun.

Tiyul Tzafon: Day Three: Connecting with Communities in Israel

13 May 2012

We left the hostel for a tour in Rosh Pinah wich is just outside Tzfat. We started the day off back at the mountain and ytalked about why people would have moved from other countries to Israel and then once in Israel moving to Tzfat and Rosh Pinah. We came to the conclusion that people couldn't afford to live in a big city like Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. The people that lived in Tzfat were the artists, the farmers, the play writes who used their creativity to start small communities. We also spoke about people who came from North Africa and how they settled in those places, because they could have their own communities, still having their beliefs and practices of culture.

We stopped off for a discussion about the importance of Hospitals in the area, but the conflict of the town not being developed enough and the social problems that arose from the people being poor and not having access to proper health care.

It was oof to the kibbutz where we ate amazing sandwiches, drank coffee and hung out. There was a man there who told us all about his Aliyah Story.

He made Aliyah just after his shnat, to the kibbutz. A year or so later the Yom Kippur war broke out and he was called up to the army. He told us stories of how the kibbutz was being bombed and he had to help the teachers in the children's houses get them all down to the bomb shelters. It was super inspiring to hear his story, but it also made me think about my own relationship to Israel and if I would be that committed at such a young age.

Tiyul Tzafon: Day Two: Our Community

12 May 2012

The worst Torah service ever.
Let us not dwell...
But we had cake for breakfast, which was fun.

Naomis peulah, although a bit random and most people thought it would have been better as a sikkum was really cool. We all sat in a circle and kind of discussed our community. When I read it before tiyul, that wasn't the direction in which I though the peulah would go, but I think that it was good to have that space, because clearly people had been thinking these things and they needed to say them.

Rebekkahs Wide Game:
We found out that:
Jake can climb a tree with a blanket in his hand.
Naomi can pin down Emily.
Emily can't escape
Jemma is stronger than she looks.
Tara is easy to sit on.
Dan Ratan doesn't have to play because of his hand.
Dan Arn is good at running away from Liz.
Jeff isn't as strong as he thinks he is.
...and its always nice to invite Israelis over to play

My peulah, after seudah, was great. I made the group make shapes with their bodies in the basketball court, Dana took pictures, and we'll probably never, ever see them though. During seudah though, we ate cake and madde bambah and bisli sandwiches, wrote silly stories, and quotes Mr. Izzard.

That night we al went out for fancy dinner. Dana taught us all how to do our make-up and I was doing peoples hair. We all looked so fancy. During dinner, I had a realisation about Pasta in resturants. It's very bland, and they give you so much you get really bored, really quickly.

Sleep was only slightly better that night.

Tiyul Tzafon: Day One: Spirituality in Tzfat

11 May 2012

We woke up early the next morning, grabbed our back packs and last minute tziud and set out for the North of Israel. Weeks of planning and delegating had gone into our tiyul and all of a sudden it was upon us. Slightly unprepared for the week ahead we set off. I grabbed a pillow from the Dojo on my way out, knowing I'd want to catch some shut eye on the bus, and not wanting to take my very own pillow with me, because I love my pillow and don't want to hurt it.

I was practically unconscious the entire bus ride, but I vaguely remember getting off somewhere hot and there being a load of German Tourists. I felt a little like Black people must have felt when all the Europeans were colonising Africa. I was sat on a rock, over looking my friends all eagerly buying snacks for the bus ride enjoying the sunshine and the cool breeze that was gently caressing the loose bits of hair that had escaped my pigtails, blowing them around my face. It was then that I came upon this odd feeling of being colonised, and as as soon as I voiced it, Dan Rattan gave me an odd look, so I kept my thoughts to myself for the rest of the break.
Back on the bus, the scenery of green luscious plane lands went by, slightly blurred with speed.
We got off and made our way gingerly towards a beautiful view of Tzvat over a mountain, where Naomi left a puddle of pee below us.

There was darkness. Too much darkness. It was pressing in on my ears and it was too silent for my liking. My feet fumbled for a foot hold in the dark, my hands desperately trying to find the wall in the emptiness that had now come to be eerie as we walked on. I knew there were people in front of me, and there were probably people behind me, but as my hand reached out in front of me there was no one to be felt. The darkness started to fade away and reality over took my imagination as I saw the rest of the group sitting in a circle. They were silent as we all waited for Dana to speak and when she did, an echo like you've never heard before erupted around us. 
The words spoken tentatively by everyone in the circle resounded around us, they penetrated your soul and held you captive for those few fleeting seconds when the words were in the air.
Thirteen voices erupted into song. One voice. One echo. The feeling of utter amazement as to this glorious, underground wonder was almost too much to bare.

We walked through the streets of Tzvat, the blue and white buildings towering above us. We were enticed by the people and the architecture of it all. Of the two synagogues we entered the second was my favourite. I've been there before, and I desperately tried to find the blog post I wrote about it, but I couldn't. We spoke about the kabalist characteristics of it. The way it has different amounts of things for different reasons, and a chair, that if you sit in it, gives you healthy babies.
I love kababla. I think its so interesting, it would have been nice to be able to walk around the old city and actually feel it though...

I think I had a spiritual revelation that night. I was looking out the window during the service, and every time I stood up and faced that direction, the sky outside had changed. In that moment I thought that there must be some kind of force that is controlling it all, and even maybe its a "God" of some sort. It was a rather interesting experience.

We made tea and played guitar in the middle of the basket ball court.

I did not sleep well that night.

Shnaylist (playlist)

Here it is.
You're soundtrack to Shnat Netzer! I hope you enjoy listening to the sounds of the dirty flat as it over looks the City of Jerusalem. The music that fills the empty hall ways or causes random dance parties in the living room.

Hebrew Week

Sunday 6 May
So we went on one of those organised tours to East Jerusalem to see the (Apartheid/Separation) Wall, and it was quite intense because we were driving through these intense walled off areas and you felt as though you were closed in. Like there was no escape and that you would never be able to do anything worth while ever again.
Even though it might not seem like much, the graffiti that defaced the Wall held a little bit of hope. At least, I though to myself, there were people out there who cared enough, weather it be to keep it or get rid of it, there were people who had taken the time to formulate an opinion on the matter.
We also went to a house in East Jerusalem where these Jewish rabbis had started a Yeshivah in the front of this Palestinian guys house. They believed that they were right, that this was their land and that the Palestinian person didn't retain the right to the land. It ended in more political graffiti and a court case, which I'm not sure is being resolved.

Sprite Day 7 May
Sprite Day T-Shirts have arrived, and you can expect some pictures as soon as I find some time to take a picture of it.
That night, a whole bunch of our machon counterparts came over for another one of those parties where things happen, that just aren't appropriate for the internet, but I am keeping track of everything in other secret places. So don't fret. I'm sure after Shnat confessions and we've all had enough time to look back on life, I'll share them with you all. (And by "You All" I mean Rosa, who probably already knows all this stuff anyways.)
So, Thai Night, where Naomi finally got to make her delicious curries and Salmon Cakes brought all our friends over and after a hearty dinner and more raucous banter between friends we retired to the Dojo, with pretzel sticks, chocolate spread, and some tea for those discussions about Periods and Pooping, that seem to fascinate us all.
Hilarity ensued as one can imagine.

Tuna Tuesday 8 May
We all listened to the pale skinned Palestinian women who sat bent over her knees, hands on her cheeks, with unfaltering attention. Her story of her husband, probably told so many times, filled the air in the room, and hung over us like a blanket of heavy-ness (or something more articulate) Her words were said with deliberate impact. She knew she wanted to make a point and her words defiantly hit a soft spot. She told us how she found out about her husbands death. A phone call. She told us how she reacted. Screaming, hysterics. She told us that the women in her neighbourhood tried to cover her body with anything they could as she ran own the street to her family. She told us that dealing with the pain of a man who had shot her husband in the back, and continued to fire, his foot holding him down, until he was barely recognisable was all too much to bear. She told us how she dealt with the trauma and how she found peace in a place where she could talk to other bereaved parents or victims.
She told us how she had found the crackinthewall

Wednesday 9 May
We all woke up bright an early, got dressed in our Knesset Best and were off to the Parliamentary buildings. We saw what it was like inside the actual parliament. Those rooms where all the politicians sit around discussing important social issues really do exist. Just like the movies.
Later, we went to the Supreme court house, and even got to sit in on a trial that was taking place. Of course it was all in Hebrew, sow e couldn't really understand it, but we saw the proceedings taking place, which was rad.
All the supreme court house buildings have a special architectural design. Most of them are round and have bad acoustics. On the upside though, they had really slid-y floors.

We had a lovelly Lag B'Omer braai in the park.
It was cold outside, because the wind was blowing and Jerusalem just doesn't have summer nights, so we got all dressed warm and comfy and mission'd off to the park, wine in hand, with a little bit of chocolate, and hung out as girlies. It was beautiful. Really it was.

Thursday 10 May
Did this day even exist? I can't remember what happened...
It was a week before Dan's Birthday.
Almost a week before Alysons Birthday.
We sat in the office for ten thousand hours before Northern Tiyul, I skipped Tuna Time and sorted out my visa for England. I met up with the rest of Netzer in the Strawberry Garden and then came home and packed for Tiyul!

Friday, 18 May 2012

To Be Continued...

All of a sudden there were no longer debates about refugees from Africa, Spontanious Trendoid parties in the streets of Jerusalem, in the early hours of the morning and no coffee shop existential crises to be heard by a close friend of mine. Because she was 50.000 ft above the ground. And we weren't. The silence between her sister and I was almost deafening as we walked the long and solemn way back to the train station, leaving her behind to fight her way through customs in a few more air ports and enjoy an over due nap in a familiar bed.
A journey that we we're both on, be it a little different has come to a fork in the road, with her headed of to hug some African Babies, and I head off to, well, avoid the hugging of children for fear of criminal offence in England. With all the crazy shinanigans we got up to, and all the wafflers we consumed over the many existential moments, we really should have made a hoodie.
I'm sure the next part of your journey will be just as exciting, even more so I hope. I'll be eagerly following your journey, creepily from behind my computer screen. http://onetimeonmygapyear.blogspot.com/ :D

Having said goodbye to one friend already that week, it was even harder to see another one go so soon, leaving The Adventure Squad down two members, and in a bit of an emotional shambles. Jess, my American friend, was too heading home to a Boy Friend, New life and a whole bunch of ARDC nostalgia back in the land of the free. A crazy weekend of jolling was eminent in the dark smudges of sleeplessness under her eyes as she smiled, ever so brightly through mouthfulls of falafel, that she managed to get all over her face would be the way I would remember her. She had treated me to an insight into ARDC lifestyle with a meal at their Ethiopian resturant, including Ethiopian Beer, and a night out for some Tel Aviv trendoid time in a small bar somewhere(I'm not so sure about the location). But it was cool. The icey lemonade qwenched my thirst from the eventful dinner, and the insanely spice-y Ethiopian dish and the talkativeness of the gguy at the table behind us, who was obviously telling an epic story.
With Jess, you always seem to get into situations that are somewhat difficult to get out of, but with her bright eyed charm; fast talking American-ness you know it'll all be alright.
For our last adventure, we picniced in the Peace Garden of Beit Shmuel and joined a Liberal Protest with Hashomer Hatzaier and went on a graffitti scavenger hunt through the streets of Jerusalem. We laughed and talked and made even more of a mess of ourselves than we had been before. It was the dreaded time for goodbyes again, and we left her, with a skip in her step at the entrance to the Tachanah Marcazit, with hugs and smiles and the promise to write and email and skype.

Sweet and Sour with a Little bit of Beach Sand.

Disclaimer: I'm now a total Jewish History Nerd.

Sunday 29th April
It was a Sunday, so I assume we had some sort of classes... but I cant really remember...

Monday 30th April
Entering the museum where two people had committed suicide together, rather than being hung, even though they were from opposite political parties was inspiring to say the least. I stood and looked at the Gallows that were never used, Hatikvah illuminated as the back drop and had to hold back tears.

The Menachem Begin Museum is an interesting place. A new age museum where you watch videos and press buttons to make things work. The walls were decorated with actual pictures or protest posters making you feel as though you had been transported back in time, which museums these days often forget to do.

Walking through the narrow corridor that symbolised the end of the museum tour I couldn't help but notice that most f the things Manachem Begin believed in and strived for during his time as Prime Minister was similar to the youth movements we have today. In some cases, like Netzer and some were like Betar and then I started thinking about how we, as the youth, are similar too, but have this stigma placed upon us either by our predecessors or by ourselves and our peers so we think that were different. But were not really. Yeah, we might have small differences but were all Jews and we all live here, and if you tell me that my Judaism isn't as good as yours, I most likely will turn around and tell you just where you can stick "your Judaism" because if it works for me that's fine. And if it works for you, thats cool too.

Over the course of Etgar, I've been able to pick up enough history from our Siyurim and Tiyulim and classes with Tal on Wednesday nights to kind of understand the more complicated parts of history. I now know the difference between the Yom Kippur war and the 6 Day war and could probably tell you the difference between the IDF and the Palmach.
I would also bet you 20 Sheckles that you have no idea what I'm talking about and just googled what the hell a sheckle is. But I'm adamant that I can.

Sometimes we need a little fun in our lives after classes and self realisation and an intense day of thinking,thats where Josh comes in, and instigates a Water Fight...

Tuesday 1st May
Reform Zionism! Now who can tell me what that is? We'll...
We had our first class on it, run by Dana our Madricha, I doodled all over my notes and sat in the back making snide comments and giggling with Lily. We sent around an IDF sign up sheet, Lily signed up twice. Most of the things we learnt that day were a bit irrelevant and stupid. I didn't particularly enjoy it that much, but it did inspire me to tape the Netzer Ideology (which is what we were meant to be learning about, in between Dana's rants about the world) on the wall in the hall way.

That night we decided that we would have a party in the flat. So many things happened that night, most of them unfit for the internet, but I'll probably tell you later...

Wednesday 2nd May
Volunteering again! Except not. We had the morning off so we hung out in the flat and waited to have our next class. We had the best lunch! (I used Naomi's Cheese) and we watched videos on the interweb for like four hours.

Thursday 3rd May
The Palmach Museum! I finally know what that is. After having been there when I was sixteen years old and now I can finally understand what the hell it was all about, having all the cool ass back ground knowledge I do. Its another one of those cool alternative museums, where the whole thing was a movie about these (fictional) people, but like, you could relate to it or something? Meh. I'm smart now.
We also had a sand castle building competition on the beach in Tel Aviv and we went swimming in the sea and it was so beautiful just being able to float.

Lily and I stood at the gate having watched Rosa walk through the doors and off through more security checks with promises that we would still be friends after we had had all our Netzer Adventures and she was back home safe from Africa. Heartfelt hugs and the remains of a last meal shared between three friends in the airport. We laughed about the weird things Marion says and all the adventures we had over the past three months. We sweet and soured and remembered all the Trendy Times in Bars drinking Goldstar, all the times being hobo's and all the times being adventurers. These three months will probably have been the best times we've had together in our friendship, and I know, that writing this post now, there is a lump in my throat and a hole in my heart, where a little fire-y, bubbly friend should be. 
But she's all the way in Ghana.

I met up with Lily and Jess for dinner with one of Rosa's previous work colleges and we went to Her Ethiopian Resturant and had the spicyest food in the whole world. My mouth was n fire, and I generally like spicy food. Later, we found Glagalim and went for a drink (Lemonana v'mente) at a Trendoid Bar that reminded me of the Boheimian, but with less live music and more outside fun time. Gal DJ'd on the shirut home, and I felt a little better about the world for a half an hour. Safe and comforted.

Friday May the Fourth Be With You
Tara can tell you all about the olives, but the rest of the shuk food snacks were just as good. Hummus, techinah, laffah, strawberries and pretzels littered the picnic blanket. We spent the day soaking up the sunshine, planning our night and laughing hysterically at Tara and the olives. Interludes of Alice in Wonderland drifted through the breeze which also carried the faint smell of apple tobacco from the the hubbly bubbly. After a good few hours of nothingness, we headed back to the flat and I ran an amazing Star Wars themed Ma'amad and we drank champaign. The champaign turned into a house party and soom there were drunk shnatties everywhere, doing drunk shnattie things. kinda like the other night, more shinanigans erupted into the living room.

Saturday 5th May
Jess and Lily surprise visited me in my flat and we had a picnic, whinge session in the garden before heading out into the wilderness of Jerusalem for another, although different adventure... TBC