On Friday, some of us headed out to Geula while others went to the Old City. It was a great experience for everyone to experience Yerushalayim during its pre-Shabbat atmosphere. When we got back to the dorms, we got ready for Shabbat and loaded the bus to the Montefiore hotel, which is located in the center of town. We walked as a group to the Kotel for Kabbalat Shabbat, and when we got back to the hotel we enjoyed great food, divrei Torah, and singing. Shabbat morning we davened in a “Carlebachy” shul in Nachlaot which is located in a bomb shelter. After lunch, we had the opportunity to hear a shiur from Mrs. Ora Derovan. After a few hours of rest time, we reconvened for snack (great cakes that we bought in Geula!), and we had a Chabura with the bogrot, (the university age girls that are learning in MMY for the summer), during which we explored the idea of internalizing Torah. Following this we had an “Ask the Rabbi” session with Rabbi Haber. After Mincha, Seuda Shlishit, and Havdala, we had some free time on Ben Yehuda Street, and then we headed back to MMY. It was a truly fun and uplifting Shabbat for all!
On Sunday, we had a Yom Iyun, which had a different schedule of learning than usual. Some of us heard a day-long shiur by Rabbi Menachem Leibtag, while others learned from Mrs. Ifrah and Avital, the Eim Bayit of MMY. We spent dinner at our teachers’ houses, Mrs. Ifrah and Mrs. Katz.
On Monday, we had regular classes, and during our afternoon break, we walked to Yad Eliezer, an organization which packages monthly food boxes for Tzedakah. We spent an hour there packaging the food, and we had a lot of fun as we created assembly lines to be as efficient as possible! At night, we had a closing ceremony for our “Gamad-Anak” activity. Gamad-Anak is a game that had been going on for a week. This involved each girl being randomly assigned a girl who they had to do “nice things for”, such as sending notes or little presents. During out closing activity, each of us made a beaded bracelet to give to our "Anaks", and we each received one from our "Gamads". This was a great unifying activity as we noticed that we were all connected in a chain.
On Tuesday, we had our Gush Etzion Tiyul. We started the day with a trip to a bakery in Neve Daniel, where we were able to pick out whatever we wanted to eat! We all emerged from breakfast full and ready to take the hour long walk/tour from Neve Daniel to Kfar Etzion. We walked on the historic "Derech Ha'avot" - the very same road on which our ancestors walked! When we arrived, we saw a movie about Gush Etzion and its history. Then we visited the famous “Alon Haboded”, the tree which had stood alone for many years, serving as a symbol for Gush Etzion and the yearning to rebuild it. After that, we walked to Rabbi Haber’s house in Alon Shvut, where we enjoyed a falafel lunch. When we got back to MMY we had regular afternoon classes, and then had a bagel dinner followed by a “pajama party”, where we watched a movie and made our own "smores"!
On Wednesday we had regular morning classes, and then headed out to the old city to Machon HaMikdash, where we learned about aspects of the Bet HaMikdash, and saw some of the items that have already been prepared for the Third Bet HaMikdash. Following that we had some free time in the Rova, and then we met in the Cardo for dinner. At night, we met up with the bogrot for a night tour of Yerushalayim, during which we traversed the area between Yamin Moshe and the old city, stopping along the way to experience certain aspects of Galut and Geulah. We slowly made our way closer and closer to the Kotel, and finally we arrived and davened Maariv there.
Thursday was the last day for the English members of our group. In the morning we had regular classes, followed by a special Tisha B’av shiur given by Rabbi Lerner. Starting in the afternoon and spanning into the night we had an “IBME” banquet. The banquet had a packed schedule which included food from Café Rimon, a Chabura with the bogrot, a speech from Rabbi Haber, a comedy routine by the Madrichot, a slideshow, and an award ceremony. The English girls reflected on the past 2 weeks as they got ready to begin their touring program, while the American girls got excited for 3 more amazing weeks to come!