Shnat blog #13 – Summer with MTA – By Gilad Meyerowitz

After an intense kaytiz zman period at Eretz, summer began with the MTA boys trip to Poland and  Lithuania. The trip was a special and unique experience, of which everyone will recall for rest of our lives. Poland acted as an important educational experience both for our Jewish history, and in many ways, our present and future. Moreover, our Holocaust education was transcended as were standing next to the physical reminders of our shared tragedy. After an intense week in Poland, we went to Lithuania to learn about a completely different but equally devasting side to the Holocaust, personally, as a descendant on Lita Jewry, I found this part specifically touching seeing my where ancestors once lived.
When we got back we moved straight to the Ein HaNatziv kibbutz. Kibbutz, for myself and many others, was the highlight of our summer experience. ‘Kibbutz life’ was a stark contrast to our Yeshiva lifestyle but nevertheless incredible. A usual day included waking up at the crack of dawn, starting our work in the fields, contributing to the to  Ein HaNatziv kibbutz and after raking the olives off the trees we davened and had a well-earned breakfast.
After breakfast, Kibbutz turned into a relaxing holiday which featured a pool, a famous lake which had a rope and a tree to jump off (for those brave enough), a basketball court, and an Israeli lunch which was a meat riched meal which we all loved.  Shiurim and Beis time were also included, which allowed myself the opportunity to learn with my friends on MTA who chose to learn at Gush rather than Eretz.
Next was Shomer Hachadash, a 4-day program helping farmers with their work. This work gave everyone a sense of accomplishment after the day, seeing how much we were able to help and see how grateful the farmers were. This was normally followed by some awesome water hikes through Israel.
Both Kibbutz and Hashomer really helped us connect with the land of Israel and the prevalent agricultural culture of Israel. This is something that without our program we never would have done.
On a personal note, my family came during the summer and I was very appreciative of Michal, our rakezet, who was very understanding and helped me balance seeing my family and still getting the most out of the program.
I chose Eretz Hatzvi as my Yeshiva but there are only 3 of us on the MTA program there. This meant that the summer program with all of MTA was an unforgettable opportunity in which we all got to catch up and were able to solidify our friendships with MTA’s who are not at my Yeshiva with me.  It was also an incredibly meaningful and exciting break before getting back into the Yeshiva.
Gilad Meyerowitz, Melbourne, MTA, Eretz