By: Taylor Wolfe
Today was definitely a memorable day. We started off the morning by heading over to Mount Hertzel military cemetery, where we would hear the tragic stories of some of the heroes in the military who lost their lives, and to give the soldiers a chance to say a few words of their own. Everyone seemed so touched by the stories of the men who ended their lives, and willingly departed from their families, for the sake of many others.
We then had lunch in the old city of Jerusalem, and then headed over to the western wall one last time. We all got a chance to write a personal note, one of our hopes and dreams, to stick into the wall. It was then time to lighten up the mood! We had a few girls in the group who never had the chance to have a bat mitzvah, and now was their opportunity. What's more perfect than a bat mitzvah in Israel at the Western wall itself?! Each girl spoke for about a minute on why they wanted to have their bat mitzvah, and what it meant to them. Each speech ended in candy flying, singing, laughter, and chair lifting. Congrats to Natalia, Sarah, Alexa, Julie, and Carly!!
The depression continued... It was time to let the soldiers go. On the first day the Israeli soliders arrived, nobody knew what to expect from them because the thought of having soldiers join our adventure was quite intimidating to some people. In the end, we all realized that they are people just like us, and in such a short time we have all grown so close. With tears being shed, we exchanged a few last words with the soldiers and presented them the "Facebook profile" posters we had made them before we had even met, so they had something to remember us by. We dropped the soldiers at the bus stop, and said our last goodbyes, with the promise that we will all keep in touch. I think it's safe to say the soldiers not only are our heroes, but also became our friends.
To end the day, we left Jerusalem and drove to the desert, where we would spend the night. We were greeted with hot tea and cookies, followed by a "make your own shwarma" dinner. The fun continued when we got to have a dance party with 9 other birthright groups with a live band. Lastly, we ended our day by having a campfire and roasting marshmallows. We slept in a giant tent on sleeping bags and mattresses, which although it may have been a bit buggy, it was a great experience because we all did it together. Day 7 was for sure one for the books!