Thursday morning started early with Shacharit and right into sessions. The morning consisted of presentations from various programs – The Conservative Yeshiva, Nefesh b'Nefesh, and the David Project, as well as a farewell from Rabbi Lebeau. Yossi and Elkana emphasized that people making aliyah really should do it through Nefesh b'Nefesh; they indeed had an inspiring presentation.
The afternoon program was very well thought-out and done as well as intense. We were brought down to -3 in small groups to the Nativ "museum" so to speak, in which we walked through the entire year with a diary given to us. Starting with the plane ride to Israel, we went through the different sections that comprised of the year and responded to questions and wrote our thoughts. It was very overwhelming for me. One of the hardest things for me was thinking about whether I made the most of my year; I'll write about this more but overall I'm happy with the way I spent the year.
Friday was a free day, but jammed pack. I did some errands with Emily in the morning that included HaSofer, Steimatzky, and HaTav Hashmini (music store), where bought some must-haves as I was leaving the country. Shira, Sender, and I met for lunch at Burgers' Bar, and then Shira and I did some shopping on Ben Yehuda and at the Shuk (last gummies!). When I got back, I went to Beit Shmuel for a little bit to hang out with Brenna, and then I had just enough time to get ready for Shabbat.
I want to recount an incident from earlier Friday about how a simple visit to the store to get a soda turned into a 15-minute conversation. Across the street from Beit Nativ is a Sweets and Beverage store, and they have Dr. Pepper, so I went to get one. My way of doing things is usually to mind my own business, do what I need to do and go, but the cashier engaged me in conversation. At this point I don't exactly remember how it started, but he must have asked me where I was from, and we talked about my Hebrew skills and where I learned. I told him I was returning to the States in 48 hours and he asked me how I feel about that and if I was excited. He was curious as to why I like Israel so much better, what exactly it is; he told me of his desires to visit America, a Jerusalemite from birth. And I told him about Nativ as well. What was apparent throughout the whole conversation essentially was the Jewish bond, one that isn't as easy to find in America with the guy standing behind the counter. A love for the Jewish people and a love for Eretz Yisrael.