Monday, January 3rd, 2011...4:32 pm

Brandeis Hillel arrives in Israel!

We made it! It is Monday night in Israel, and the Brandeis group is happily settling into our accommodations at Kibbutz Ein Tzurim.

Most of our group flew in together, leaving JFK on Sunday night. We met by the El Al counter at 9pm, after all the Birthright groups were done checking in, so the lines were short. Once everyone was checked in and through security, the Brandeis and UMass-Amherst did a quick ice breaker at the gate. The UMass group is doing a similar program to us, but volunteering at different sites. We’re all staying at Kibbutz Ein Tzurim, and we’ll have some joint programing, so it was nice to start to get to know them!

Our flight left JFK just before midnight, and proved to be pretty uneventful, in a good way. Most of us got a decent amount of sleep. A lot of people watched “The Social Network”. And of course, when our plane landed at Ben Gurion Airport, everyone burst into applause. That’s one of my favorite things about flying to Israel: people are so genuinely happy to get here. Who starts clapping after they land at Logan?

We landed around 5:15, but by the time we got through passport control, picked up everyone’s luggage, went through customs, exchanged our dollars for shekalim, met up with Larry and the other early arrivals, picked up our rental phones, and loaded up the bus it was past 7:00! Getting into Israel takes time, especially in a large group. The Brandeis and UMass groups rode to Kibbutz Ein Tzurim together, and we arrived around 8pm. We dropped off our luggage and went straight to the dining hall- dinner time! After dinner, we had an hour to settle into our rooms.

At 10pm, we all met up to discuss ground rules and tomorrow’s schedule. We’re getting up bright and early- breakfast at 8am, and the bus leaves at 8:30am! But the most exciting part of the night came right before the meeting ended: Overalls! Hopefully we’ll have some pictures soon of our oh-so-awesome work overalls. Tomorrow we begin our service work with Gar’in Hineni in Kiryat Gat!

-Rachel Goldfarb ’11

Brandeis Hillel - Israel - January 2011 From January 2-11, 2011, 20 students from Brandeis Hillel will address challenges facing Ethiopian-Israelis in Kiryat Gat and Gedera, Israel.

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