Last Friday, the Americans and our madrich Uri went to see a video about the history of Gush Etzion. We saw the difficulties the people faced in the early days of this settlement, and tried to imagine their hardships. The settlers’ dedication to this land, despite the countless times they were forced to abandon it, was very inspirational.

On Shabbat, the Makor Chaim alumni returned for a Shabbat yeshiva. Although these young men graduated years ago, they sang and danced like the “Makorchniks” of today. The Makor Chaim spirit never leaves you! On Motzei Shabbat, we watched Fiddler on the Roof. It was my first time seeing it, and I really enjoyed reading the Hebrew subtitles.

On Sunday, we went to Yeshivat Har Etzion (Gush) in the morning. We saw all of their 500 year old sefarim from Amsterdam, as well as the faces and sefarim of the fallen soldiers who had learned in Gush. That night, we went to Yeshivat Tkoa to participate in a fabringen and heard Rav Steinsaltz speak. I can’t say I understood what he said, as it was in Hebrew, but he did address us afterwards in English and his remarks were meaningful.

On Monday, we went to Migdal David in Jerusalem. This was my second time there, as I had gone there with my family when I was eleven years old. The museum describes the conquering and reconquering of Jerusalem over the past few thousand years. We later davened at the Kotel, and took a tour of the tunnels. We then went to Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh, where we ate good food, and had a great time.

On Tuesday, we had regular class, which we all loved. That night we went to our Av v’Em bayit, Yedidya’s and Esther’s house. This is one of my favorite places to be in Makor Chaim, and I think most of our group would agree with me. We drew pictures of what we think of when we think of Israel and our experiences here; we were given the drawings from last year’s group to return to them when we get back, and we will receive ours back when next year’s cohort returns.

Over the course of these past few days, it had been raining terribly, but of course, Makorchniks, being Makorchniks,  formed a circle in the lunch room, and the song, “והריקותי לכם ברכה עד בלי די עד שיבלו שפתותיכם מלומר די” was sung over and over again. This was fun, but on Wednesday things got much more exciting. Snow began to fall and classes were immediately cancelled for the next two days. Snowmen were built, snow forts put up, and the hours long snowball fights began. Snow is very exciting here because it comes so rarely. (This was the worst snow storm since 1992-so we are part of history!!)

 

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