By Paige Wright, Maddy Cherry, Maya Greenstein and Kaleigh Silverstein, Bus 6 Participants
This past Friday we had the amazing opportunity for eight Israeli teens to join our group for the next week. At first we were nervous about them joining us on our trip, but our nerves quickly faded. The day before they came we had a program about the cultural differences between Americans and Israelis. To be honest it kind of freaked us out because we didn’t really know what to expect. The next day we arrived at the Golan Beach to meet our new Israeli friends for a fun day of water activities. As they arrived, we created a human arch for the Israeli teens to run through. We did this as a way to welcome them into our kehilla (community). Later, we stood in a big circle and started some ice breaker and team building activities to get to know the Israeli teens better. Afterwards, we finally were able to go into the water! There, we were able to paddle board, swim, and the most popular activity was banana boating. Each banana boat had at least one Israeli teen on it so that we could share this fun experience together. Being together on the boats brought us all together in a way regular activities couldn’t. At the end of the day, we all realized how similar we were to the Israelis and how easy it was to talk to them. We were all prepared for them to be completely different from us when in reality we were all the same.
When we got back to our hotel, a few people found out that they would be rooming with an Israeli, us included. Although it was exciting, it was honestly a little nerve racking to be rooming with someone we had just met. But after only a few minutes, we felt as if they had been there for days. The next day was Shabbat and we were able to share how Americans celebrate Shabbat. Even though it was very different from what our new friends were used to, they all enjoyed learning the new songs and dances. For the rest of the day we all relaxed and talked with our new friends, although they felt like old friends. It’s kind of crazy how only after two short days, we had all gotten so close. We love them so much and don’t know what we are going to do when they leave at the end of the week!