After being in Yeruham for basically 24 hours, it was time to turn around and head back to Yerushalayim for MASA's culminating event of the year. We actually missed the morning stuff, but one of the sessions they offered we had already done a few months ago during Israel Today Seminar (branding Israel with Ido Aharoni). On the way to Binyanei HaUma, we had lunch at Harel Mall – they gave us coupons to a couple of different restaurants and we were free to buy whatever.
The first two sessions we attended related to college and what to expect next year. First we heard from a panel of former college students and one current gap-year student, where they recalled their experiences being active on their college campuses. I didn't really gain anything new from that. Then we had a lady who I think is the director of Hillel's Israel office talk about Jewish identity on college campuses – she was interesting but again, nothing too eye opening for me. Following those sessions, Natan Sharansky spoke to the whole convention. I wish I had paid a little more attention; it's hard in large settings to listen to a speaker. Some of the questions were kind of annoying because they included a 2-minute introduction about how in love s/he is with Sharansky and his story – that wasn't needed. The session after was pretty interesting, though. An oleh from South Africa, the speaker spoke passionately about Israel as being a home for the Jewish people (Judaism is not a religion for him), and offered five legs of what a Jew should consist. We had a long break after that, and the next major thing was hearing Bibi speak. Whether or not one agrees with his politics, one could only be moved by the Jewish unity he invoked and his love for Eretz and Medinat Yisrael. Over and over again, he proclaimed, "this is your country." It was a treat to hear him. To finish off the night we had Hadag Nachash – wasn't incredibly interested, so I mostly stayed outside.
Then, once again, back to Yeruham – made it home at a quarter to one!