5th February 2015

From Sarah Langerman (NIFTY) and Talia Glantz

Well, this is one difficult weekly report to write. This past week has been one long goodbye. Last Wednesday was our last day of work and it was truly bittersweet. Although work was hard at times, we have all learned and have grown so much.

On Thursday for Yom hinnuch we all travelled to a nearby kibbutz named  Samar. While we were there we got a lovely tour and some information about how the kibbutz was founded and how it works today. We also met the youth of the kibbutz and did some activities/games with them and made dinner all together.

Friday morning the kvutzah went on a tour of lotan, much like the first day we arrived, but instead we went from place to place sharing our favorite memory that occurred there.

After sleeping in on Saturday after our last Friday night in lotan, we all had a lovely picnic on the grass followed by a ma’amad with the donkeys in the date field.

Sunday we started bright and early at 6am in the date fields to work together one last time. That night we ended many of our last dinners on Lotan exactly like the first night we got here, in hatzav with the kids of the kibbutz. We all cooked and hung out together and overall it was such and amazing experience and everyone has made so many bonds here on this kibbutz.

Monday morning unfortunately the Brits from lotan said goodbye to go to their seminar and we got free time and waited to receive the people from karmiel who weren’t going to the seminar.

Tuesday we took an interesting trip to see where exactly the oil spill near Eilat took place as well as seeing the nature reserve across the street and how much it has been affected. There is still dry oil paths marking the ground and after a while you start to get sick due to the smell of oil polluting the air still two months later.

Now it’s Wednesday and tomorrow morning we pack up our bags to head to Jerusalem. Although many of us are excited for the next step, I am not ready to let go of this beautiful kibbutz. I am without a doubt the happiest I have been in my entire life and that is due to this whole communities welcoming to new people and to me. This change is incredibly difficult for me but only because I know that this experience has been nothing short of amazing.

Weekly report by Talia G (Northern Shnat – Carmiel)

After saying farewell to our volunteering placements the previous day, we woke up bright and early on Thursday morning to embark on a hike all the way down the steep Mount Gilboa. The views of luscious green fields, calanits (the official flower of Carmiel), and fish farms were truly stunning. In the evening, a few of us who volunteered at Amit (the religious high school) went round to the English teachers house for dinner. It was so interesting touring around and learning about the Yemenite moshav she lived in. Friday was a very chilled last day to enjoy the sun and sort last minute things out for jerusalem. We all went to Yedid Nefesh, (Carmeil’s Reform Synagogue Netzer has a connection with), to help lead the Tu’Bishvat Seder. Everyone’s host families were there and we all went back to their houses for a final Shabbat dinner. Saturday was an exceptionally tedious and boring day of packing. The evening however was mamash kef (a lot of fun), we all dressed up as pop stars and did performances, after which we carried out our usual weekly ritual of attending “Pub” Carmiel.

Sunday was an exceptionally tedious and boring day of cleaning the appartment, the smell of cilit bang will be engrained in our nostrils forever. We had a lovely farewell and thank you dinner with our host families, volunteer and programme coordinators, and our incredible hebrew teacher Miri. The evening was spent learning about then watching/ attempting to stay awake during the Super Bowl. After way too little sleep, we were up early on Monday to go to Jerusalem. Tuesday was the first day for us Netzer Brits of our Yachad seminar, where we were joined with Habonim Dror. We met Daniela who is a member of Machsom Watch, she took us to: an agricultural separation barrier, Omar’s plant nursery and to see the Seam Zone. On Wednesday morning we were joined on the coach by two ex soldiers who were members of Breaking the Silence and they took us to The South Hebron hills where we saw the effect of the occupation on the Palestinians. We then went to Efrat (a Jewish settlement in the West Bank) and had a meeting with the mayor. In the evening we were given a talk by a member of Rabbis for Human Rights. The Yachad seminar has opened our eyes to the realities of the occupation in the West Bank. We have reconsidered our opinions, and made ourselves even more confused! This education setting has made us all very excited for machon and etgar, and we can’t wait to move on to the next part of our programme! Yalla bye for now.