As the weather began to warm, we said goodbye to the Northerners and began the MTA Summer Programing. The Amit girls enjoyed a week of fun activities with our teachers including abseiling, rock climbing, The Bible Lands Museum, Tiyulim and baking and handing out biscuits and toys to children at Shaare Tzedek Hospital. We then joined the Harova girls for a few weeks of Summer Zman at Harova.
Next, we all journeyed to Poland with our incredible tour guide, Jeremy Kurnedz, our MTA Rabbi, Rav Yonny, Jeremy’s two sisters Simone and Daniela and our two madrichot, Rel and Ariella. In a land splattered with Jewish blood we felt every emotion during the most intense 10 days of our lives. Each and every one of us had one of the most enlightening trips, each day experiencing the depths and horrors of the Holocaust combined with the uplifting music and inspiring Gedolim of Chassidut. We concluded the journey in Ukraine, visiting the Keverim (graves) of Great Tzaddikim such as Rabbi Nachman and The Baal Shem Tov. Together we cried but we also sang and danced. I have never sung more in my life but each song now carries its own meaning and connection to a person or place we visited. These songs enabled us to process the camps, mass graves and destruction of the Shoah and now bind us as a group, which is so much closer due to our shared experiences, which we will never forgot.
We all could not be happier to return to Israel, our Homeland. Still singing, we all landed in Israel with huge smiles on our faces and a new gratefulness for everything we have. After a couple days of chofesh we joined the boys in the Jerusalem Gold Hotel for a Post-Poland seminar and Tisha B’Av. Together we read Eicha and mourned for the Beit HaMikdash that we yearn so much for. It was such a moving experience commemorating this day in Jerusalem and concluding it at the Kotel, the only remaining part of the Beit HaMikdash.
We then said goodbye to the boys and began the HaShomer HaChadash program. During the days we travelled the North, visiting different farms, helping the farmers by clearing vineyards, weeding and picking delicious fruit. At night we enjoyed a BBQ, a bonfire, and a ‘History of Israel through dance’ session.
A few days of chofesh was followed by travelling back up North to Kibbutz Ein HaNatziv for a week. We joined the Kibbutznikim to do a variety of jobs in the Foam factory, kitchen, olive fields, gardens, and Gan. In the afternoons we relaxed by the pool and maayan, slept and just chilled, loving some time in the sun before we returned to our Midrashot.
For the final part of our summer program, we reunited with the boys for Zionist Seminar. We began at the Herzl Museum and then travelled down south, to Herzliya, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem throughout the week. Each day looked at different aspects of Zionism, including it’s origins, the creation of the State of Israel and the Independence War and 6-day War, where our soldiers fought to retain our Homeland. We discussed Aliyah a lot throughout the week, and ultimately we learnt what it truly means to be a Religious Zionist. We ended the week, unhappy to be saying goodbye to our friends at the other Midrashot and Yeshivot but happy to be returning to our Torah learning. We also sadly said goodbye to our two amazing Madrichot who have been with us throughout our year but are not continuing with MTA. We will miss then heaps but are so glad we got to know them and so grateful for all the work and effort they put in during the last 6 months.
The entire summer made the whole group so much more connected. Each person adds an abundant amount to the group and our friendships have grown greatly. We had so many incredible experiences, each so different from the next. We traced our history, worked our land and now we are back in our institutions to carry on learning our Torah.
Kaila Wainstein, Perth, MTA, Amit