• Hillel at Virginia Tech

(Sand) Surfing into the New Year: Day 7



Today was a fun and educational day. We stared the day by going sand surfing in the Negev Desert. The weather was beautiful and I only fell off the board a few times! We later traveled to Sderot and learned from Grisha Yakubovich, who was a former member of the Israeli army and the mayor of Gaza, about the conflict between Palestine and Israel. What I found most interesting was when Dor was discussing his personal experiences with the IDF and how Israel emphasizes strong ethics when in conflict no matter what. After this, we ate a (large) Italian dinner with pizza, pasta, salads, and various appetizers which were all so good! Today, along with everyday so far, has been so much fun to see new places and hear new ideas and I’m looking forward to the remainder of the trip!


- Rebecca Pioso




Today we started the morning off by going sand surfing on the dunes and it was really fun. Next we went to go eat lunch at the biggest mall I have ever been to. I had a nice schnitzel baguette. After that we met with a man named Grisha where We started out at the police station where he showed us a stock of remains of rockets that had been launched at Israel. Then he took us to the border of the Gaza Strip where he explained to us what has been going on within Gaza and all the dilemmas involved. It was very eye opening to be that close to the border of Gaza and fascinating to listen to him talk about the two sides of the coin. I never really knew the full story of what was going on in Gaza but now I have a better understanding of what’s going on. After that we had a very nice dinner. Last we went back to the hotel and had a quick meeting about gift of life which is an organization that gets people to put their name in the registery so that people in need can find a perfect match for bone mara. The trip has been very fun and educational and I am very excited for the second half.


- Jacob Kurstedt




Today we went sand surfing in the Negev Desert. I was kind of nervous about it because the previous day I had fallen on the rocks in the Dead Sea and I wasn't sure if I could keep my balance on the board. The sand was a lot finer and softer than the sand from the beach, so it got into all of our shoes and socks. Watching everyone dump all of the sand out of their shoes was so funny! The sand surfing itself was really exciting for me even though I was nervous about the size of the dune, because I've never been snowboarding or skiing. It was fun to try something similar and new all at once. Even though I fell several times and I got sand into my eyes and mouth I had a lot of fun sandboarding down the dunes with all my new friends from Israel.


- Michelle Uchitel




 Starting off the New Year, we surfed the sand dunes in the Negev. We slid down the sand dunes at incredible speeds, and had the occasional wipeout. After [attempting to] brush the sand off our shoes we stopped by a mall to get lunch before our discussion with Grisha Yakubovich about the ethical dilemmas that are happening between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The discussion about the subject was very interesting and complex in manner, in which solutions are as complex as the issue itself. We also got to see some of the rockets that have been recovered by Israel, and talked about them. It's not rocket science, you know.


-Jonathan Kayne





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