The time came and it was time to pack up Yeruham. It came a lot faster than I expected and felt unreal, but reality hit in and it was time to leave my second semester home. I spent a lot of Friday packing my bags, and then a lot of the hard-core packing came on Sunday. We packed up our dishes and taped up the drawers to be sent back to Jerusalem and/or being donated to Yeruham, and I shipped a couple of boxes of books home. Of course we had some hard core cleaning to do, but it got done pretty smoothly and went well. Nativ fed us lunch and dinner. And then at night we hung out some.
Most Israelis really have no regard for Yeruham, as I'm sure I've discussed before, and they really don't know what's so important and great about Yeruham. Sometimes I think that as long as I have a car, I wouldn't mind living in Yeruham. It's a special place – the people there are special and it's special to have such a close-knit community as a town. Especially since Amram Mitzna has improved the condition of Yeruham, its residents are proud of their town and the atmosphere that exists there. Having lived in suburbs my entire life, it was a treat to have the opportunity to live in Yeruham for three and a half months.
I discussed already my reflections on my volunteering, and I made it fairly clear that as much as I was there to give, I also took a lot. On the whole, I feel that Yeruham was one of the most genuine "Israeli" experiences I could have had this year. Jerusalem allows for a spiritual connection to the State of Israel, but Yeruham allows for a very personal experience. I have new perspectives on the diversity of Jews in the State of Israel, I have improved my Hebrew, and I have gotten a greater glimpse of the daily life of an Israeli. According to Yossi, one fully fulfills the Zionist dream today by working a development town and helping out its residents. Whether or not I agree with that idea wholly, I feel that Yeruham brought me the side of Israel that most people don't see on short trips, and that places like Yeruham are a worthwhile investment in building Israel's future.
If there's anything that made Nativ a unique experience, Yeruham did it. It's a place I will always feel connected to, and I look forward to visiting. I hope to see Yeruham flourish even more and earn a respectable place in Israeli society. I am very grateful for the opportunities I had to be part of this intimate community.