Did you know that in Ethiopian traditions they wouldn't put up a sukkah during Sukkot because they had one standing all year round? This is one of the few things I've learnt as of late. We travelled to a local Ethiopian woman's house and we spent time with her learning about her story and her culture. We drank coffee and ate a type of bread that had cabbage leaves on top of it. She told us of how she came from Ethiopia without her parents and about how she started up a centre to educate people on the topic of Ethiopian Jews. That was the end of our Poria leg of the trip.
We then drove to Jerusalem. We did some exploring around the city and when we got to the hotel we had time to unpack and relax before we attended a lecture by Neal Lazarus where he taught us about the Palestinian conflict, the strategies and solutions of it and he tried to put the conflict into perspective by showing us videos of children singing songs and doing dances during a bomb drill as a way to ensure that the children know what to do when there’s an actual air raid. Granted that by itself it sounds rather depressing or uncomfortable but when it is explained in the way Neal does it almost gives you a sense of hope.
After that we spent a while getting ready for the Ben Yehuda street party in celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut. We were all told where to meet at midnight but aside from that we were free to roam around and do whatever we pleased. We split off into groups some went shopping around and others met up with the foreign delegations. All in all it was a night I will not easily forget. I mean this trip as a whole, these have been two weeks that I hope to remember every second of.