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Birthright Journal - Day 8

5/26 There are so many birds I've never seen before! --- We decided to take a stop at the pharmacy so that everyone can get their pills n’ potions. The spirit of all the Jewish mothers were with us that morning as they would be so proud of their “boychiks” for taking care of themselves! On our way to Jerusalem. This begins our last leg of our trip. That's kind of sad. I wish I had more time to hang out with everyone. Status: People say that this trip is what you make of it, and yeah, I totally get it. I have opened up and tried to talk to as many people as I could, and the more I opened up and was myself, the more it was returned. Yes, there were some cliques. Yes, some people decided to stay close to the people they came on the trip with. Yes, there are people who would not have given me the time of day if we met under any other circumstance. (Maybe it's my insecurity, but I think most of them would not be caught dead near me if we met anywhere else.) But all in all, there has been a sense of community that comes from us all being Jews. People offer each other help, offer advice, give them creams and medicine. I really truly feel like it’s the Jewish kinship that has bonded us more than any other factor. This is a thing they claim fraternities and sororities are, or communities or religions are, and even family and friends are...etc. I've never experienced this on a level this big before, and it makes me very happy for humanity, the Jewish people, and the very insecure “blurryface” inside myself that never thought I was good enough to be accepted by anyone. Because our last leg is in Jerusalem, it'll probably be the most spiritual and self-reflected. I'll try my best not to cry over the inevitable "Tell us what you got out of your experience". --- The Western wall. The Kotel. The pictures I've seen made it look much bigger.

Either way, although I didn't get the "Aha moment", I can see what other people see in it. I personally thought it was kind of underwhelming. There were reports from the girls’ side of crying and emotions. Inside the men's side was a shul and they were davening (praying). It just looked like any regular old shul. And I get triggered by “shul”. In the back there was a window through the floor, showing the tunnels that run underneath it. That was cool. Anyways, I gave money to rabbis and I put a note in the wall. Man, bringing a pen with me came in so much handy!

--- Now we are going to a market. I really want shawarma. I haven't had it since… the last time I had it! Another note: In Israel, their fries are not super oily. They aren't as long but they are still the kind I like. I know this isn't super interesting information for you the reader, but anyone who knows me knows I love me my potatoes; especially fries! And future me is going to read this and appreciate me talking about French Fries. --- This market is called “Machaneh Yehudah”. Oh my God! Everyone was hustling and bustling around to get stuff for Shabbat. I commented that we have absolutely nothing like this, and the Israelis were just like, “This is what impresses you? Crowded markets and hills? Maybe I should appreciate these trivial things more.”

On the bus, we were given a "secret Moses" (it’s Secret Santa, but Moses) and our task was to buy them a gift for Shabbat. I got such a good gift for my person, though I went over the 10-shekel limit. My person said in her “Two Truths and a Lie” at the bonfire that she had an extensive spoon collection. No one thought that was the lie! I got her a spoon, so now it isn’t!

Note: another thing that impressed me so much was that in Israel, coins are worth something. So much so that you can place a single coin on the counter and say, “One Shawarma, please. And keep the change!”

--- This hotel (called "C Hotel”) is really nice! I think this is one of those "Shabbat Hotels" that my family was too poor to ever go to. It's a really nice place to (>sniff<) finish our trip.

As Shabbat began, all the men were ushered out of the room and were given roses to give to all the girls. Since we had a large majority of girls, the guys had to double up on roses. Except for the ones who had girlfriends in the other room, it’s best they stayed loyal.

Anyways, I was the last to enter the room and all the girls had their roses, so I went up to a guy and said, “Will you accept this rose?” Cleverly, I avoided picking favorites.

--- We played a trivia game called "Jewperdy". Get it? ‘Jew’-perdy? Whatever. Our team swept the category of Torah and we got all our questions right (except the final one where we lost points and therefore the whole game). --- Status: Now we have down time and this is basically the end of the day. People say that I am genuinely funny, (which is good, because it’s really all I’s gots) and that I'd be a “stud” if I lost that damn gut of mine. It’s nice to hear these things from anyone besides my mother. I’m filled with this thing called “Self-worth”, and I’ve only heard about that in stories.

“I thought Self-worth was only true in fairy tales,

Meant for someone else, but not for me.”

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