In January of 2020, I set off to Israel to spend the second semester of my junior year of college studying at Tel Aviv University. The experience was amazing. I lived in the heart of the city, was able to immerse myself in the culture, and, most importantly, learned how to get around solely by public transportation. The explicit and implicit lessons I had learned from camp played a huge role in making this semester a successful time of personal growth. Whether it was being placed in a higher-than-expected Ulpan level because of the foundational vocabulary I had from camp (I had never formally learned Hebrew in a classroom setting) or being able to understand the greater social, political, and religious complexities that arose in my courses and day-to-day experiences, I was able to rely heavily on my funds of Yavneh knowledge to get me through the semester smoothly. As you can probably imagine, my semester did not go as planned and as more and more countries began to shut down and universities switched to remote learning, I packed my bags and flew back to Boston to be with my family.
Overall, losing the opportunity to have a full study abroad experience was truly a bummer. But, I was grateful to be safe and healthy at home with my family, finished the semester asynchronously online, and was optimistically excited for Kayitz 2020 where I would be a Kerem madricha for my campers with whom I’d spent the 3 previous summers. As most of the Yavneh community understands, it was unbelievably heartbreaking to lose such a monumental summer for my campers. This summer tested all of us who live 10 for 2 for camp, but for Kerem 2020 a different kind of resilience was needed to accept this awful circumstance.
Nonetheless, as the world became a little more hopeful and small doses of travel began to resume, I grew more and more excited for the possibility of being able to go back to Israel with such an important group of people in my life. As Kayitz 2021 approached, I wrapped up my senior year and graduated from Bates College with my BA in Psychology and Education. Before I knew it, Lily, Erez, and I were moving 40 teenagers through El Al security and flying to Tel Aviv!
Na’aleh 2021 had its ups and downs. We had spent so much time apart that we needed to give ourselves time to reconnect as an aydah. This was surprisingly easy to do since we were constantly on the move spending nearly every second of every day together. Overall, the trip was amazing, not only were we safely able to travel all around Israel, but we were also able to hear from many different voices along the way. As Na’aleh madrichim, the summer was a huge step up in responsibility, but I am so proud (and relieved) that we closed out the trip with two urgent care visits to deal with ingrown toenails (if only we had the Marp!) and only one trip to the hospital— for me! Fun fact: The word for jellyfish in Hebrew is “meduza”, I learned this the hard way.
After returning from Israel, I moved to Brookline, MA, and started working at an elementary school working as a 1:1 paraprofessional for a third-grader. This role has not only been so much fun, but it has been a great transition stage for me as I complete my elementary teaching licenses in Massachusetts. As Kayitz 2022 approaches, I am beyond excited to be back in Northwood again with this amazing group of people, both of us now in new roles. I can’t wait to be able to watch my chanichim become madrichim and I look forward to guiding them and ensuring their transition to tzevet is successful. I am looking forward to getting to know all our new and returning chanichim Tze’irim and working to ensure that everyone has a safe, comfortable, and fun time at Yavneh this summer!