Rebecca E. is a junior from Burlingame, California. She belongs to Peninsula Temple Shalom, is a participant in NFTY-CWR, and is a camper at Camp Newman.
Tonight concluded the second Shabbat at Kibbutz Tzuba. While sitting in a circle filled with sixty three people whom I hadn’t known just a week and a half before, I reflected on my past week. A week ago the whole EIE experience was completely unfamiliar to me. I had no idea what to expect from my peers, nor from my classes, nor from any of the days that would follow. I remember feeling a bit scared that I would let school consume me, as I usually do. I had a bad habit of putting school above all else, and not letting myself learn outside of the classroom through real life experience. But for the next four months I wanted to get to know my peers, and truly understand Israel through participation in activities that did not involve schoolwork.
Now, after one entire week out of the eighteen weeks in the program, I realize that good schoolwork and getting to know Israel and my peers are not mutually exclusive. Going on Tiyuls helps me understand Israel on a deeper level, but it also helps me do well on Jewish History tests. Doing homework with my peers helps me get to know them, but it also helps me understand different perspectives on assignments and ultimately turn in better schoolwork. I don’t need to risk getting good grades in order to truly make the most of my time here at EIE and better form my Jewish identity. Rather, I must be curious about what I am learning and learn with my peers- and there is nothing more Jewish than that