By Amanda Porter, NFTY-EIE Fall 2012
Monday, the students of EIE wake up at 6:45, are eating by 7:15, and are standing outside the dorms in the shape of a Chet; a letter pattern traditionally used in the Israeli army. We shift nervously from foot to foot, trying to remember if we need anything else. But it is not quiet; everyone is vocalizing excitement for our very first real Tiyul – our first learning-on-site field trip.
After the Madrichim okay everyone who has a hat, sunglasses, hiking shoes, and enough water, we all practically sprint to the bus and head straight for our favorite seats. The bus driver, Sammy, gives us all a high-five as we climb aboard. The radio is turned up to the tune of GAGAGA-GALATZ in Hebrew and English, but we still manage to drown out the sound. Some of us fall asleep for the 45 minutes it takes us to get to the site.
When we arrive, the sun is up and the fine dust is still and settled, our clothes fresh and clean, our water bottles and Camelbaks full. Our teacher, Oshrit, gets off first and leads us down a path and up to our first stop where we pull out our notes, our Tanakhs, and our maps. She then proceeds to get our sleeping minds going with tough questions, explanations, and challenges. We each get handed a chocolate wafer cookie as she explains that the place where we are is called Tel Gezer – a site so amazing and perfect, 25 different peoples had come to settle down until some kind of disaster caused them to tear down and leave. The wafers are similar in that we are sitting atop 25 layers of civilization from thousands of years ago! When we are awake, we stand up and make our way to the top of a tomb, and then around the entire site where we get educated through our teacher’s words and the ancient blocks of city walls that were placed there by people who lived over 2000 years ago.
By the time we get back on the bus, we are dusty and sweaty and completely disgusting, but full of knowledge and already anxiously awaiting our next Tiyul: Thursday’s trip to Sataf. See you next time!