Shabbat in Jerusalem
If I had to describe Friday in one word, I would say magical. We started off the day by visiting a school in Pardes Hama. Despite the language barrier, we all made great connections with the Israeli schoolchildren by participating in fun activities like hide and seek and making nutella covered pita.
After, a long bus ride to Jerusalem provided a nice respite from the action. In Jerusalem, we shopped at the famous fruit and nut market, Machane Yehuda. Because it was right before shabbat, the market was PACKED. Everyone bought great snacks and presents for their parents.
Our amazing Israeli tour guide, Noga, then gave us a quick tour of an old Jewish neighborhoods in the city. At night, we had a shabbat service led by two of our recently graduated friends, Zach and Sarah. As they put it, “Services at Birthright were a wonderful experience; everyone, whether devoutly observant or new to religiosity, felt a heightened spiritual connection to their Judaism and had a blast!”.
At sundown, we participated in a Jewish version of “secret Santa” and exchanged gifts bought from the market, along with some kind words to each other.