By Emily Goldberg and Emi Schwab
We began last week by saying goodbye to the unit and splitting into our chavayot, separate experiences. For us, that meant uniforms, standing in Akshev, screaming our lungs out with “Ken HaMafakedet, (yes commander)” and rooming with people we were unfamiliar with.
Throughout the week, we were able to see how much pride these Israelis felt about serving their country. We saw a new side of Israel, a behind the scenes experience that showed us just how strong and united it is. We reached out to each other but we also challenged ourselves, both physically and mentally. The intense four day Gadna training was one of the most fulfilling experiences that we’ve had. We drove out of the gates of the army base with knowledge on how to shoot a gun, a few cuts and bruises, and even some new friends from URJ Camp Harlam. But the most significant souvenir that we took from Gadna was self-discipline, persistence and respect.
Whether we spent this week digging, changing the world, or traveling from sea to sea, each of us reached within ourselves and finished the chavayot with a new sense of pride and accomplishment.