Sunday and Tuesday
When I woke up on Sunday morning, as I had noted briefly מוצאי שבת, the Kibbutz had turned into a swamp due to all of the heavy rain of the previous week. Consequently, when we got in ourSherut we found out that instead of doing field work as usual, we would be rather be working in the לול (chicken coop) for the day, as we did again on Tuesday. It was a pretty gross experience, and I'll spare some of the details, but after spending both mornings washing chicken toilets in acid and being soaked to the bone, I had definitely had enough of that work. It was definitely interesting, but you won't see me back there anytime soon.
As usual, we had Yom Nativ, where we started with tefillot (and I read Torah, followed by a discussion with Jules Gutin, the International director of USY, where we talked about our feelings about Nativ up to this point of the year. Following lunch, we continued with the second part of the day, which was a program about the Knesset put together by my friend Avram, where we were split up into different parties and acted out scenarios that could happen in the actual Knesset. Most people really got into their roles, and it ended up being a really great program.
While you already read about what I did during Tuesday at work, I had a pretty fun time after work. After relaxing for a few hours, I studied Talmud for a little bit in the late afternoon with my friend Josh, after which there was ashiur (study session) about the meaning of remembering the Exodus from Egypt, and showing proofs from the Torah that illustrate that when both God and AmYisrael remember, it is always accompanied by action, an appropriate message considering the issues that confront our world today. In addition theShiur was given in Hebrew, which is always good practice for me. After the shiur, we had a group barbecue/bonfire, which was a great opportunity to hang out and spend time together.
On Wednesday, I continued my week of working different jobs by spending the day helping set up for Pesach in the Kibbutz's grocery store, known as the Kol-Bo. I worked with the regular staff, overseen by the manager, Chaya, a 7th generation Yerushalmi with 8 children, as well as 5 South Africans and Australians who are studying at Yeshiva and spending two weeks working on Kibbutz. It was a nice change of pace for a day from working outside, and an interesting challenge to remove all of thechametz products (necessary, being a Jewish-owned store), and price and lay the Pesach ones.
After finishing work and picking up my laundry, I took some time off and went with my friend David to visit with his host family from the kibbutz,Yehuda Noiman. who was one of the founders of the Kibbutz in 1946 when it was in Gush Etzion , and was held in captivity for ten months by the Jordanians during the war of Independence in 1948. He has a museum with many fascinating artifacts in one of the Kibbutz's bomb shelters, and it was interesting to hear from him what it was like defending the Kibbutz almost sixty years ago, as he was truly a founder of the State of Israel.
On Thursday, I finally returned to working in the fields following a two week hiatus, and was very happy to be back at my old job, despite all of the exciting goings on in between. We fixed some irrigation piping in a Tomato field, and then loaded 75 rubber pipes ontoa truck to prepare for irrigating another field.
On Friday, I got ready for Shabbat and prepared to go with my roommate Yosef to head down to Be'er Sheva and visit friends on the other Nativ track who is volunteering band living in an absoption centre there. A little before noon, we walked out of Kibbutz and caught a ride to Kiryat Malachi. Once there, we stopped off at the רב שיווק Supermarket, which reminds me a bit of No Frills, and bought a bottle of wine forShabbat, after which we stopped at may favourite, Shawarma She Shuki and bought lunch.. After lunch, we walked down the street to צומת קסטינה (Kastina Junction), where one can catch a a bus to many different destinations. Instead of taking a usual Egged bus, we instead took a new discount bus line calledMetropoline, which cost 40% less, and after leaving at 1:15, we arrived at the Be'er Sheva Central Bus Station an hour later. We then hopped a city bus and arrived at the Mercaz Klita, where my friend Hillel met us and took us to his apartment, where I saw my friends Daniel Peaceman and Daniel Goldschmidt. We had a good while to relax, and I watched an episode of West Wing, showered and helped set the table for dinner. We davened friday night at the Kipa Shul, where a man with a beautiful voice led a tradtional Carlebach Kabbalat shabbat. We returned home and eight of us sat down for a leisurely shabbat Dinner. After Dinner we ralxed for a while, and then I got a nice night of sleep. On Shabbat morning we woke up and davened at the Rambam synagogue, a regular Orthodox shul that started at 8:30 and was finished by 10:20. I received Hagbah and there was a nice D'var torah after the haftarah.
Since it was so early, we went back to Hillel's and relaxed until 12:30, when ten of us gethered for another extremely pleasant shabbat meal. I spent the afternoon relaxing and napping, running the short walk to the shul for mincha around 5:15. As Shabbat ended,we davened ma'ariv, and threw together an impromptu havdalah. Before heading home, four of us ordered Pizza for dinner and we eventually made it back to Kibbutz around 10:15.
Today, we were again back to working in the fields, and during work we actually took a 'field trip', driving to a satellite field of the Moshav, an hour away by tractor, and prepared it for the planting of paprika. For the rest of the morning, we worked in a field that was being sown with tomato plants.