Keeping Pace: July Edition

August 19, 2022
Avi Gorodetski

Northern Region East: DC

Class of 2022

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Hey again, AZA and BBG! 

Welcome back to #KeepingPace, but this time it’s July! This month has been absolutely crazy (in the best way possible, of course) and I’m so excited to share a little snippet of it with y’all. 

So where did we leave off last time? Ah yes…packing for Israel. Well, I did indeed finish packing but my luggage was very heavy (let’s just say my suitcase didn’t roll much towards the end of the trip). Now that we’ve got past the overpacking, let’s get into all that was International Leadership Seminar in Israel 2022.

You know how time is fake? Well, ILSI surely made it seem that way. Every day felt like a year long, but the three weeks flew by in the blink of an eye. It’s true what they say: time flies when you’re having fun... and eating copious amounts of schnitzel in Israel. No, but honestly, ILSI was an awesome experience. There’s no way for me to explain everything we did without writing a novel, but let’s cover the highlights (even though almost every moment was a highlight). 

Here we go, my top five ILSI moments in no particular order:

  • Night Hike in Sde Boker – Imagine this: almost 200 teens taking a hike lit up by just the stars and moon reflecting on the desert rocks. This experience was actually unmatched. Leaving our phones behind and just tuning into one another and the nature around us was surreal. After an hour or two of hiking, we arrived at a large opening in the desert to reflect and have shira. Wow, what a night like no other!
  • Bar Mitzvah in Tzfat – This moment was one that nobody could have anticipated. As my bus (the amazing blue bus) was doing a walking tour of the Old City of Tzfat, we ran into a local Bar Mitzvah. The city was cool enough on its own, but the way that the family asked us to join them in dance and song to celebrate the B’nai Mitzvah was a true testament to the sense of family in Israel.
  • Maccabiah Opening Ceremonies – Getting to attend the Maccabiah Opening Ceremonies was actually a once in a lifetime experience to be a part of. Being surrounded by thousands of people from all over the world, cheering and celebrating together, left me in awe. To make the night even better, I got to meet tons of you who were in Israel on different trips.
  • Shabbat at the Kotel – Being Israeli, I had been to the Kotel before, but our first time visiting the Kotel on ILSI to celebrate Shabbat was something totally new for me. My connection with Jerusalem and the Western Wall shifted immensely as I thought about how lucky I am to have so many loved ones in my life. 
  • Water Hike in Ein Gedi – I’ve never called myself a huge hiking girl but I did enjoy every single hike we took on ILSI. Specifically, the water hike we went on in Ein Gedi was super cool because after a bit of walking we got to a waterfall. And, not only were we able to admire the waterfall, but we could slide down it (literally so cool). The algae and dirt didn’t even bother me because we were having the time of our lives!

Okay, phew, that was a tiny insight into the wild and wonderful trip that I experienced this summer. ILSI was also a trip of personal growth for me. Last month I talked about self-care in finding the little things that make you happy – another aspect of that that I needed to work on this month was focusing on myself. Some of you may relate, but I’m the type of person who will drop everything to do anything for my friends. It’s something I pride myself in, but simultaneously, it sometimes places me in difficult situations. This month, I worked on finding the balance between advocating for myself and supporting those that I care about. It’s a tough skill to build, but once I set aside time and space for myself, I was able to take a breath and enjoy my summer experience more than I was before. 

After landing at the JFK Airport at 6 in the morning post-ILSI, I got an airport Covid test and then hopped in a car to Perlman. Although the first day was full of sleep and reenergizing, being able to visit Kallah was amazing. I absolutely loved getting to meet so many of you, whether hanging out at the picnic tables or dancing together during Shira, thank you for welcoming me with open arms and smiling faces. On another note: stargazing at Perlman…wow it’s a treat! Reuniting with Dani and Danny and finding our new favorite activity of looking up at the Lake Como sky was so special. My 5-day visit went by way too quickly and the post-Perlman sadness still hit hard, but I’m now even more excited to begin visiting all of you in your home communities. 

So, now…what am I up to?! Well, International August Executives conference is right around the corner so I’m spending lots of time back at my desk preparing to have a stellar Execs and an extraordinary year. While I’m starting to prep where I’ll be heading to start the year off, reach out if there are places or things you want me to see! I can’t wait to take you all along for the ride with me. 

AZA and BBG, as you end your summers and start new adventures, do the things that better your experience. Take time to get in the right headspace for a crazy year, have fun before returning to school, and please, reach out! I’ll need people to play Game Pigeon with as I start spending lots of time on the road. Get ready, things are feeling real! 

Respectfully submitted, 

Avi Gorodetski

78th Anita M. Perlman International N’siah

Avi Gorodetski is the 78th Anita M. Perlman International N'siah from Northern Region East: DC.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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