Backstage Travels

All the world's a stage…

Day 7: We’re starting to lose track of the days…

on February 8, 2014

The morning started later than usual, and we just gathered in the permanent-looking tent outside of the hostel. There was a heater, but…it was chilly. We started out with a Torah passage, and broke into pairs to discuss it. I was paired up with one of the Israelis, Ofer, and we had an intense discussion. We both have very different ideas about a lot of things, but the thing that made our conversations meaningful and deep was our respectful listening and responding to each point. I don’t usually have religious discussions, and I tend to look at things secularly while trying to be objective. We ended up getting off topic a bunch of times, but I was never sorry for that.

We also played what we were told was a card game. It was not a game, and it was not fun. We were given a set of cards with things written on them like “Praying,” “Living in Israel,” “Raising Kids Jewish,” and other things that we were told people think are important to keep the Jewish religion and traditions alive. We were split into groups of five or six. We were a group of five, and were the only group to not have an Israeli. It showed. Eventually we were told little by little to whittle our choices of things that kept Judaism alive to three cards. Many of the groups kept “Supporting the IDF,” “Having a Jewish State,” or “Visiting Israel.” Meanwhile, our group kept “Raising Kids Jewish” (because children are the future), “Keeping Jewish Traditions” (because we decided that included keeping kosher and holidays and praying and reading the Torah, all cards that we eventually threw out), and “Remembering Jewish History” (because we decided that included things like anti semitism and the Holocaust).

That non-game got intense quickly.

That night, we blew off some steam in Tel Aviv. Our tour guide said she knew someone who owned a bar, and we spent the evening there. I’m not usually a going out person, but I had a good time. It started to feel like I’d known all these people for years and years…but it’s been a week.

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