The amounts of experiences definitely cannot be written down..but I can talk about a few.
Our journey began at 9:45 on Friday morning. We all (as in the few people that chose to camp out for Shabbat) met up at our gate to our neighborhood and proceeded to walk to the bus stop to take a bus to Jerusalem. Then we transitioned to a bus that took us to random bus stop, where we transferred to a bus that was bullet-proof that was en-route Chevron. We were dropped of at Kiryat Arba (the outskirts of Chevron were some Jews now live), and then finally got on a bus to where we were camping; on the grass right outside maarat hamachpela!
First off, let me tell you, Chevron looks like another count
ry. My friend compared it to the scenes in the novel "The Kite Runner". So that itself was intriguing. When we got there, one of our madrichs, Ira, already had a spot waiting for us! There were about 5 tents, 3 big ones and 2 single person tents. The 11 girls got the big tents, where the guys either slept outside or in one of the tents. We set up the area, and dropped off our stuff. Then, a few friends and I ventured off to
The Maara itself was a little weird to me. There were Arabic decorations and a hole that when you smelt it, it was supposedly the air of Gan Eden. I am not educated in the history of the Maara, so for me, it was a bit weird understanding everything behind it. Since we were questioning it, this random guy (that seemed as if he had a mental health problem to the point where he was obsessed with the Maara itself) found us, and gave us a personal tour on his opinions and his known facts. He told us that the place tiself made him nervous since all the time people are lied to thinking that where tombs are portrayed, the bodies are in, when in turn they are really not. I'll have to do more research to understand what really was going on there.
As Shabbat started, there were many minyans for kabbalat shabbat to choose from. Some friends and I chose the 'Carlbach" minyan where you dance and sing. Of courseee the men were dancing a lot more then the women. I took it upon myself to sing loudly and to jump around and to get others to dance with me. it didn't last too long, but at least it was enough to the point where someone in our group thanked me for doing it. After Kabbalat Shabbat we went to Friday night dinner at this place that was formerly homes to Jews (and was burned down and eventually jews could no longer live there since it was too dangerous), and ate a good meal of chicken rice and potatoes. There were people that said the food was bad, but I think the spirit itself was amazing, which made the food even better then an ordinary Shabbat evening meal.
After the meal, there was basically a big social scene. Everyone was outside of their tents (despite the FREEZING weather) talking to people they didn't know, singing, chanting, drinking, exchanging stories. I personally took the time to meet some people, and have some new conversations. I eventually went to sleep. Might I add it was freezing even with two layers and a blanket, AND it started pouring in the middle of the night. I was ok with it since we pray for rain everyday anyways, so finally Israel is getting it, even though it made the experience a little bit harder.
I was sleeping, and was dreaming a dream I was SO sure I was going to remember..it was vivid and clear and I knew when I woke up, I would be able to tell it verse by verse. However I was rudely interrupted. 4:00 AM my eyes flew straight open. 'ALAAAAAAAAAAAAA ACHBARRRRRR'. I was wide eyed, looking around, still laying down. and again ala achbar, ala achbar over and over again, so loud to the point I thought they were right outside my tent. I was aware that this was a call to prayer for the arabs, but I never heard it so clearly or loudly. Eerie is the perfect word to describe it. they used their loudest or closest speakers first, and then as that mosk was about finished a next one started, and on and on, till eventually it stopped. It was probably a good ten minutes until it completely dwindled down . I was lying wide awake until the sun came up..imagining horrible things...but I eventually fell asleep.
Anyways, for the beginning of the morning, that was the talk (unless you slept through it, which in this case I thought they were lucky). But soon, people got on with their day. I went with some friends to pray shacharit in the Maara (which got packed right after we left!) and then headed my way over to the camp site to walk over to lunch. Meat and cholent! Perfect cold rainy weather food. As we were eating though, it started to pour, and our tables were not under a roof so we had to move them. But before we did that, when it was drizzling, I shouted Gam Zu La Tovah! (Basically everything happens for a reason), and was not bothered by the rain at all. After we moved up, as in carried our tables with all the food to a different location, we resumed eating. We were right next to the huge cholent pot (SO BIG). I watched as many people were crowded around waiting to get their bowls filled. No doubt it was not the most sanitary production, but once again it didn't bother me, I was purely happy.
Shabbat afternoon consisted of a short nap, a tour of Chevron, and once again meeting people and talking. I was so happy also with the bond I was making with some of the people from my program. I've found people that have motives just like mine, and each of them have something beautiful to offer...I feel as if I'm closer to these girls, more than any 'best friend' I've ever had. Everything was amazing.
Havdalah. As our madrich was chanting the prayer, the arabs began their call to prayer as well. It was as if we were competing with spirit. Once again, it was an eerie feeling. It's basically like reality setting in, we both want this land, and until a real solution comes upon us, the competing is not going to stop...
Overall, Chevron taught me history, it taught me bonding, and it taught me reality. I could not have asked for more.