ז׳ בסיון ה׳תשע״ז (June 1, 2017) Alone and Together in the Desert

TRY is known to be one of the most powerful and spiritually moving experiences a Jewish teenager can have. So far, only a week and an half into my TRY experience I have had some touching moments. One such moment was our trip to the Negev, where I realized new things about myself.

It was our first tiyul as a group. We set out for Beersheva and went to a very powerful monument right outside of the city dedicated to fallen Israeli soldiers. We continued on to Tel-Sheva, and from there to our campsite at Be’erotayim. There we had what was definitely the best meal of the week, and also many laughs and conversations, which helped us bond as a group. We then all huddled up in sleeping bags and attempted to stay warm in our mud huts. When we arose in the morning we had a meaningful prayer service, ate and rode camels.

The moment that stood out the most was when we took a break right before lunch to reflect on ourselves. We sat down in a circle and Betsalel gave us instructions on what we were about to do. Then we each found our own little spot and began to reflect.

The first couple of days were stressful. Many people did not know anybody coming on TRY, and obviously the first couple of prayer services, meals, and activities are going to be awkward. Many kids weren’t having the best week. This was an opportunity to finally think to ourselves and to reflect without being judged. We left our phones and watches next to our bags and were practically care free. We finally had some alone time to think about what we wanted to, and to analyze our surroundings. When Betsalel called us back, some kids shared their thoughts and we had an honest and deep conversation for the first time as a group. Those who participated were open and honest. It was the first step we took the build a community that every single TRYer will remember forever.

Meanwhile, individually everyone had a different experience. At first I was a little ignorant and thought I was just going to sit there for 15 minutes thinking about nothing. I was completely wrong. I immediately sat down and felt carefree. I didn’t feel any of the stress about adapting to my new environment, or making new friends. I looked up and saw acres of barren land. I felt very small. But then I realized that someone as small as me can make such a huge difference in the world. Everyone is just a speck on this earth, but some people take more advantage of what little they have and make it into something big and meaningful. This was just the first of many powerful moments to come these next four months. Each one us has the ability to make these experiences special and powerful. We all made our first one very memorable.

ELIJAH WISE
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