As all 17 Limmud Marva participants arrived at Kiryat Moriah, we did not expect what was coming for the following 2 months.
We were instantly confronted with military style procedures and discipline, with even the smallest movements or noises being noticed and punished instantly. We made our way down to Sde Boker, where we would spend most of the next two months. There we met our new tzevet which acted as our family and finally were given our mefakdim (commanders). The tzevets contained people from all over the world ranging from Uruguay, France, Argentina and Guatemala. Our new tzevet and mefakedet were a crucial part of the Marva experience as we all began to bond and create a real family atmosphere. The importance of being a family was always stressed and showed us the comradeship that is necessary within the IDF.
The first two weeks that we spent on the base were the toughest as we needed to rapidly acclimatise to sleeping outside in tents, always having our water canteens full, having our uniform perfect at all times and not being allowed to talk at your free will.
After this we moved on to shetach (field) week, where we learned about different strategies that are employed in field combat as well as practising different attack simulations utilised by soldiers in warfare. This provided an amazing and authentic experience of what IDF soldiers are faced with throughout their service.
We also spent time in the north of Israel, learning about the vast military history of the area, while also visiting some kibbutzim and memorial sites.
Another memorable week during marva was in Jerusalem! We stayed at Kiryat Moriah and were taken on daily tours by IDF mashakiyot hasbarah. Some of the sites we visited included the Tower of David, Church of the Holy Sepulchre and some neighbouring towns of the old city which are not regularly visited when touring Jerusalem. This week really gave us an appreciation for the city and all the stories we hear of the liberation of Jerusalem. The week ended in a truly amazing highlight of receiving our diskit (dog tag) at the kotel. To walk around the kotel wearing our uniforms was a very powerful moment for many of us as we were able to experience the true appreciation that israel has for its soldiers. Many people approached us and asked for photos or even just wanted to say their thanks to us for protecting their homes, this genuinely was a moment that we all won’t forget.
Although Marva contained many highs and lows everyone left the program with a real sense of pride and love for both our country and the IDF. We also gained so so many skills and the army lifestyle really did make us all a lot more productive as a group. It was such a memorable experience for all of us and really was a highlight of our Limmud experience!
Richard Kane, Sydney, Limmud