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Living the Miracle

This past Shabbat we had the famous Midreshet Shabbat Yishuv. We spent the Shabbat at Neve Daniel and learned from many diverse voices what it means to be a religious Zionist and why it is in the very essence of Judaism to make Aliyah and live in the Land of Israel. Thanks to all the Neve Daniel families who opened their homes to us and made the Shabbat so memorable.


On Monday and Tuesday we watched as our homeland underwent the most emotional days of the year. We stood and watched as our Israeli brothers and sisters recalled their deepest fears and darkest memories as they mourned the loss of their beloved that fought in Israeli wars to protect this country. The following day, these very same people reemerged, but this time with joy in their hearts, every inch of them adorned in blue and white. 


Erev Yom Hazikaron, Midreshet Moriah and all the other ‘chootznikim’ (people from outside of Israel) joined together at the Latrun amphitheater to commemorate Israel's Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers. The program revolved around friendship and how we feel the sorrow of each fallen soldier. The event was attended by students from all over the world - from Brazil to Australia to Germany! It gave all of us a broad perspective on the courage of the 18+ year-old soldiers that risk their lives to defend the State of Israel.


The following day we heard from an Israeli hero, Asa’el Lubotsky, who was injured in battle. He told us of his friends whom he had lost in the Second Lebanese War and the difficulties he copes with today, some 8 years after his injury. We were all so moved by the wedding video of Asa’el breaking the glass at his wedding with his injured leg. He is truly an inspiration. Immediately following that, we walked across the street to Har Herzl, Israel's military cemetery and joined together with tens of thousands as the siren blasted across the entire country. Exploring the cemetery, many of us got the chance to speak with bereaved family members. We spoke to Nachshon Waxman's father as well as Michael Levin's mother. Many parents and siblings of soldiers who had fallen many years ago were very enthusiastic to share with us their stories. By passing on their stories, it was as if the soldiers were still alive, living through us!


That night, we made the transition into Yom Ha'atzmaut with a special Tefilla chagigit and going to an awesome Jewish Rock concert run by the teens of Efrat! Following that we had a delicious falafel party at Bracha Krohn.


The next morning, after a good night's sleep, we all filed into a bus for a long trip to Neve Aliza. We stopped on the way at a chenyon tzava -- a military fair with tanks and army supplies on display for everyone to come and explore what the IDF does.


We then continued to Vicky and Rav Berglas's home and were surprised with a delicious BBQ and an Israeli sing-a-long! After we let the food settle in, we played a good ‘ole game of softball. Check out the great photos of Midreshet getting into the swing.


Finally, the day ended with Vicky inspiring us with her story of Aliyah; of how she started both a seminary and a yishuv in Israel and of how if you want it badly enough, im tirtzu, then anything is possible, ein zu agadah. We ended the day singing a heartfelt hatikvah and truly feeling grateful to Hashem for the Miracle of the State of Israel.  


Malka Russell and Yifat Kadosh, Shana Alef



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