A family group of high school grads from 8 different countries have just begun their journey of discovery, personal development, independence, and adventure in Israel!
Stay tuned to this blog as we follow them around Israel as they forge their paths with Kivun 5783!
Kivun is a Co-ed, experiential, 9-month Israel immersion program for the Northern Hemisphere, focusing on personal development, independent living and Jewish growth. Participants live in apartments in Jerusalem, where together with friends they learn about themselves, Judaism and Zionism through an incredible array of experiences such as Kibbutz, Volunteering, Seminars, Professional Internship, Magen David Adom, and IDF experience. For more information or to apply click here.
This week our MDA participants completed their volunteering. Magen David Adom held a ceremony at the Jerusalem center, thanking the participants for all their hard work.
The participants received a MDA certificate, MDA pins and shared some of their experiences (see below for Sammy's incredible speech). It is unusual for gap year participants to experience everything they have been through in the last six weeks.
MDA is looking forward to a week of volunteering for the IDF in the SAREL program next week.
Marva had a week filled with navigation, sports, and a hike up Masada starting at 3 am!
Some of the Marva participants are spending Shabbat with Garin Tzabar and visiting the idea of joining the IDF!
We are so proud of both MDA and Marva participants for putting their hearts into the service of the people and our Home.
Rosh Chodesh Adar brought about special celebrations! We had Sushi night, a talk by Joshua Daniel, and a fun Peula in Beer Sheva. We can't wait for Purim!
As some may have heard, Jacob and Jenn joined us a few months ago for a trial period. Once this period was over, we came to a mutual understanding and realization that they won't be able to commit to the time they wanted and needed to put in.
We are very grateful for all the time they put in with the group and behind the scenes.
Baruch Hashem, we are now joined by Aviah Rubin. Aviah comes highly recommended and has already begun working with us full-time.
MDA weekly reflections by Sammy Schajer UK This week we ended our time volunteering in Magen David Adom. My last shift was a mixture of run of the mill shortness of breath calls alongside a serious siezure call. It was a sad goodbye to the beer sheva station, all the medics/drivers there have been really kind and hospitable. It has been a meaningful period which I feel has taught me lots and allowed me to explore Israel in a unique and different way. Thursday was spent catching up with the MDA girls, and Marva people, we each had so many stories to retell.
I am looking foward to Sarel next week and to hearing about everyones off weekend.
Sammy's Speech for the MDA Tekes Less than a week into our shifts seven Israelis were shot and killed as they left shul on Friday night.
The next day whilst I was on shift another attack happened, this time a father and son had been shot dead.
Not long after two were killed in a car ramming.
Terror attacks are a tragic part of life in Israel, no matter their frequency they never become less painful for everyone, from the person who reads about them in the newspaper to the mada medics who respond.
When events like this happen the natural reaction is one of fear, the second after shabbat went out I called my sister just to hear her voice, hoping and praying that I am never in the shoes of the victims relatives.
It feels more natural to avoid those we deem threatening, and to group even closer to those we already know. But on mada we don’t have the choice to do this.
A few days later a call came through. I was on the ambulance negev arbim vchemesh, it was a busy morning shift and we had just finished up with a run of the mill shortness of breath call. We were on the drive back to the station and we got called to a child seizing following a fall of his bike. We race to an arab village on the outskirts of beer sheva on lights and sirens. The poor kid is in a bad state in a pool of blood. We race him into the ambulance and start the drive to hospital. I find my self sitting next to his mum who had been keeping a brave front thus far. She turns to me, and in a moment I will never forgot, grabs my gloves hands and looks me straight in the eyes and said “I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I just can’t do this.” I squeeze her hand and do my best to comfort her. I will never forgot this moment, in the midst of all the events that had been happening a jewish boy from bnei akiva, and an arab mum held hands and focused solely on a young injured child.
When we read the news, when we hear the headlines, when we hear about the death count on both sides we sometimes forgot the humans behind it. Mada has taught me lots about medicine, about Hebrew but most important, most usefully, it has taught me humanity. We give out aspirin, glugogel, but the most powerful tool in out arsenal is our hand, and our comforting smiles. In those moments, we are not jews and arabs, we are not two different peoples, we are not two sides of a historic conflict, we are people who bleed the same colour blood.
In the past when in an unfamialr sitatuon with people I had never met before I would focus so heavily on our differences, mada has changed my perspective. The first thing I see now is our similarities.
Marva weekly reflections by Molly Seghi, USA
This week on Marva was the most challenging yet rewarding: fitness week. The week consisted of different physical tests, some more strenuous and mentally tolling than others.
The most impactful part of my week was the Masada hike. We were woken up at 2:45 am to the screams of our commanders, yelling at us we had to get out of bed immediately and get ready in full uniform for the day ahead. We rode a bus for two hours, catching up on missing sleep until we eventually reached Masada in time to watch the sunrise before we departed on our adventure. The hike was in complete silence in honor of the Golani soldier Amit Ben Yigal who passed away.
As we were nearing the top, our מ״מ commanded us to hold the hands of the people in front and behind us to create a chain of the entire machlackha (half of the plugah). As someone with a fear of heights, it was nerve-wracking to let
go of my grip on the railing and, by extension, my control. But soon, I found that I felt safer and more relieved in the hands of my teammates than I did alone.
Once we reached the top, we had a beautiful Shacharit at the synagogue. The memory of singing Hallel for Rosh Chodesh Adar in an IDF uniform on top of Masada will be one I will cherish for the rest of my life.
To watch how tourists from around the world were in complete awe of the minyan elevated the davening for me. The experience was a perfect display to me of how beautiful and special Am Yisrael is.
I am looking forward to watching how the rest of this chapter unfolds. Shabbat shalom!