Monday, October 30, 2006

The Keep Making Aliyah Shabbaton in Nahariyya

A-Plus: 2 Months, 2 Weeks, 1 Day

Last weekend's "Keep Making Aliyah" shabbaton (Sabbath gathering) was the first of its kind. The idea of, "Keep Making Aliyah," is that the physical act of landing in Israel is not the end of a journey but only a first step on a very long process, that we olim chadashim (new immigrants) have both an opportunity to continue to develop a connection to the land as well as a responsibility to improve the country through personal action.

The idea of the "Keep Making Aliyah" shabbaton being to help the country as well as the immigrants, the shabbaton was held in the northern city of Nahariyya (or is it spelled Nahariyyah, Nahariya or Nahariyah, Naharriyah, Naharriya?) Located two kilometers from Israel's northern border with Lebanon, the city was one of the hardest hit in last summer's war.

Nahariyah on the Map

Last August in Nahariya

Leaving Jersualem on Friday morning, storm clouds began forming over the hills of Shomron.

A group of us met up at the Yavneh Olami center on King George Street in Jerusalem. There were enough of us to rent a van heading north, so we didn't have to deal with the busses.

Ya'akov, fellow passenger, participant, and oleh.

The program was sponsored by Yavneh Olami (a National Religious outreach and learning organization) and Magshimey Herut, (a right-wing political party) with programs designed by both, as well as Yishai and Malka Fleisher of Israel National Radio (a conservative internet radio station located in Beit El.)

Yishai and Malka

As our van pulled in from Jerusalem, other participants showed up from every corner of the country. Some were soldiers on leave for the weekend, national service volunteers, yeshivah students, all olim or potential olim from the U.S., Mexico, Hungary, England, and Canada to name a few.

The forces gather.

The shabbaton began Friday night with davening (praying) at a local Sephardi shul (synagogue.) Afterwards, we realized we were in the wrong shul, so we wandered over to the Benei Akiva (National Religious Youth Movement) shul, where the group was parceled off to different families to spend our Shabbat dinners with the locals.

The day included much programming and talks from volunteers and activists from all over the country. But most importantly, we met and got to know other people who were experiencing similar issues surrounding aliyah, had like-minded ideas about what we loved about the country, and what needed fixing.

In the end, we packed up, cleaned up, and agreed to stay in touch. May this be the first of many.

The shabbaton is over. Uniforms back on.

Stay tuned to Planet Israel for more photos from Nahariyyah. (or is it Nahariya? Or Naharriya? or...)


Ze'ev said...

Awesome blog. Awesome post.

Ephraim said...

Thank you , sir! I do my best.