June 9: The Last Supper (And The Last Hike, and the Last Lecture at Hadassah)

12 Jun

First and foremost, happy half-birthday to Chloe. I promised her I would give her a shout-out for this special occasion. Now, onto the real blog: It’s very rare that you get to meet people who helped make history – but today, we were lucky enough to do so. Arye Naor was Government Secretary under both of Menachem Begin’s governments, and played a role in making peace with Egypt in 1979. Today he told us just how that came to pass, against all odds. Many Prime Ministers had tried to make peace with Egypt in the past, but the attempts were fruitless. He explained that due to particular circumstances and determination, peace was achieved under Begin, and he will be forever remembered in history for that.

This lecture was one of many unique experiences we have had in Jerusalem, and it felt right to be doing something “uniquely Jerusalem” on our last day there before Tel Aviv. Following the lecture, we took a hike down Mount Herzl and got stunning views of the city. It was nice to have some time to reflect on the weeks we had in the Holy City before, all while enjoying the Jerusalem scenery. At our group dinner tonight, we were asked to go around and share something unique that we gained in Jerusalem, which we would take away with us.

When I was first posed with that question, I didn’t have any idea what to say, but after a little thought, I knew exactly what I was taking away that was so special: the connections. Over the past few weeks I have grown so close to the people on this trip, and they have really opened up my eyes. In addition, I have run into many people whom I never expected to see, and met new people through friends on the trip. I’ve always felt that my impressions of various places have been hugely shaped by the people I experience them with, and Jerusalem is no different. To share this special city with the incredible people I have met during my time here, along with people I have known for years, is an experience exclusive to Jerusalem – will keep it with me for years to come.

As everyone went around and said their piece, I realized how much everyone on the trip had impacted my views on Israel, and how much I learned from them. It was so interesting to be here with people who have an array of beliefs and opinions and I think that this dynamic really made the trip special. I’m really pleased that I got to blog about our first impressions of the trip, and now I get to close out our time in Jerusalem. So far, this trip has surpassed my expectations, and I’m truly looking forward to the new adventures and perspectives that Tel Aviv will undoubtedly bring us.

– Jenny Travis

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