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Lesson in the Desert

I was not excited at all to be going on our field trip to Sde Boker, a kibbutz in the Negev desert, which included a night hike. We went to see David Ben Gurion’s house, who was the first Prime Minister of Israel. I had been to his house before and while it is a unique experience, it has never been something that made me emotional. I understand how important of a figure he was and still is in Jewish history, but I have never felt like I truly understood who he was. There are moments while I am in Israel that I feel incredibly connected to the land, but at the same time I also feel like a stranger.

Before going on our hike, we had a student-led program about silence, where we had to be quiet for ten minutes and that was difficult for me. I have never liked to stay silent because the thoughts in my head tend to spiral. I have trouble living in those moments because I am always thinking about the next thing that needs to be done. I have to remind myself constantly that it is normal to pause and breathe. I find that when I am silent I tend to reflect on negatives rather than positives. Instead of looking at all that I have accomplished, I focus on my failures which makes me question if I am good enough. This cycle had been difficult to break until this hike changed my life.

One of my classmates asked me how I was doing because the hike was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I may have been cursing and griping so I told my classmate that I am not a hiker and our guide overheard me. He told me to stop and said “do not say you are not a hiker. When I need a plumber and they can’t be there, I become the plumber.” This idea of embodying someone's positive traits as an extra boost of confidence changed my entire perspective. If I can become a hiker, imagine what else I can become.

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