It’s Levi again here with another Keeping Pace for July. As all good stories start out, mine started with Covid! In the late days of June, I tested positive which meant I couldn’t visit ILTC! I was devastated but ecstatic I was still able to join ILSI and have the most fantastic time. For those that went to ILTC that I didn’t get the chance to meet, I’m so excited to meet you on the road this year.
On July 6th, alongside almost 200 other teens, I traveled to Israel and began the International Leadership Seminar in Israel. To say the trip was life-changing would be an understatement. Being able to go to Israel for the first time surrounded by my brother, sister, and sibling Alephs and BBGs elevated my experience.
With 20 days of jam-packed programming that opened my mind to new aspects of Israeli life, culture, the Israel-Palestine conflict, and so much more, this Keeping Pace would be a novel if I didn’t cut some of it out. Sooooooo here are some fantastic highlights.
By far one of the best experiences of the trip, I loved climbing Masada. It was one of the (physically) hardest things I’ve ever done but reaching the top with my friends was amazing. At the top, we had 7 of our fellow participants that received a Hebrew name. We were able to take a quick tour and sang at the top of Masada. The view of the sunrise with arms around friends as we sing Hinei Matov will stick with me for the rest of my life.
On the same day we climbed a mountain at Masada, we traveled to Jerusalem where we went to the world-famous shuk, and at night, had a Shabbat service at the Kotel. Walking to the plaza and turning to see the Kotel sent shivers down my spine. The sight I was looking at was where I bowed when praying. Millions of Jews were bowing while I was standing there for Shabbat. Being there and touching the Kotel was surreal and amazing.
While staying in the Negev Desert at Sde Boker, we had a special experience where we hiked in the desert at night. Just using the moonlight to see what was in front of us, we walked in (somewhat) silence and had an amazing experience. In the end, we ended the hike as one community where sang songs and prayers. Looking up at the stars and being with that amazing group of people was something special.
Overall, ILSI was an amazing experience. The people I met, the places we went, and the subjects we learned about were something that will stick with me for the rest of my life. If you have attended Perlman and are looking for an amazing summer, I highly suggest going to Israel with BBYO for the best experience of your life.
See y’all soon! Get ready for an amazing August!
Levi Fox is the 98th Grand Aleph Godol from Lonestar Region.
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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