By Jamie Gorson '16
The next stop on my weekend adventures around the land of milk and honey was Tzvat. Tzvat has always been my favorite city in Israel. I'm awed by the mysticism, cobblestone streets and artistry. That weekend, 5 other Boston Onward participants and I joined Livnot for Shabbat. Livnot is a hiking and volunteering program run out of Tzvat. They had around 40 participants in their weekly and monthly program. When we entered their campus and experienced their program, we were awed by the positive attitude and group charisma.
We started our weekend at Livnot by preparing Shabbat dinner. Every person lent a hand in cooking the festive meal. Whether it was cutting vegetables for a salad or cooking chicken, everybody had a task. Everything was impressively organized. My task was mixing the dough for the challah. The task sounded simple at first, especially since I had made bread every week last semester (at Olin, in David Boy's CoCurricular), until I realized we had to sift 10 kg of flour!
So, in the time it took to sift 10 kg of flour, I had the opportunity to meet people from all over the states who had come to spend time at Livnot. Every person had their own interesting background and unique reason for being at Livnot. When we finally mixed and kneaded all 10kg of dough, we left it to rise for tomorrow.
The morning began by braiding challah. I attempted a 6 strand braid. The most exciting part of the morning was meeting a glass blower. She had moved to Israel and found her passion in glass blowing. She connected the work she was doing with glass to the Kabbalah. (Kabbalah is Judaism's version of mysticism). Not only did she tell us her story, but she demonstrated how she made a handle.
Not only did she tell us her story, but she demonstrated how she made a handle. I have never seen anything like it. She expertly moved the glass, effortlessly telling her story and shaping the perfect handle.
The most amazing part of Tzvat, to me, was feeling immersed in the culture and environment. On Friday night, I roamed the streets saying שבת שלום - (have a good Sabbath) - to anyone who passed.
It felt so magical to aimlessly wander the streets at night. Energy poured out of synagogues and the views across the mountains were beautiful. The next day, I climbed to the top of Tzvat to reach the citadel. At the citadel, there is an incredible sound cave. I blindly walked into it, having no clue where I was walking. Once inside I was amazed by the expansiveness of the cave. We met some other visitors and began singing. The Jewish songs radiated through the cave. I realized that no matter where you are from, all Jews have a connection. We found we could pick up singing songs at anytime, and automatically feel a linked history and experiences.
Overall, we had a wonderful weekend in Tzvat and I will always appreciate the natural emotions and beauty of this city.