Welcome to Day 18 of Yad B’Yad, which happens to be the official halfway point of our time in Israel! We started off the day in Ramat Rachel, our last day in the hotel before we head south tomorrow. Our first stop of the day was extremely meaningful, Kever Rachel, the burial place of Rachel Emenu. The experience was truly one of a kind. The air vibrated with tefilot of all different kinds from all different people. We then had a delicious lunch at Oz V’Gaon, a park created by the residents of its surrounding neighborhoods to honor the memory of the three boys murdered by terrorists in 2014, Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah. The dumpsite turned community center left us with a feeling of unity, the same unity that brought different communities together for one project. The buses then split up, with one beginning at Pat Bamelach and the other at Machon Tzomet and then switching. At Pat Bamelach, we made delicious pretzels and learned how the factory makes bread the way our ancestors did. After that, my bus headed to the Machon Tzomet, the center for combining Halacha and technology. We learned about how engineers have modified our everyday necessities to allow their use on Shabbos. Metal detectors, medical devices, assistive scooters, and more have all been adapted to be “kosher for Shabbos” and then we got to experience them ourselves.
We finally made our way to the most anticipated Yom Yachad to spend the night with YBY Trip 2 wearing shirts we tie-dyed especially for this! We began the night with delicious homemade pizza and making new friends with YBY2 participants! Once the sun set, we heard speeches by 2 participants from each trip, with trip one being represented by Dovid Wexler and Zehaveet Dayan. Each trip then presented their respective videostars, which highlighted a few of the amazing moments we’ve experienced on YBY so far. Being YBY, we davened b’yachad (get it?) and had a huge dance party which really proved that it doesn’t matter who you are, we can all go crazy to some Mordechai Shapiro together. We made new friends while enjoying ice cream late into the night, a recurring theme on YBY. While at Yom Yachad, YBY Trip 1 counselor Eitan Schnier made a siyum on Masechet Baba Kama l’ilui nishmat Trip 1 participant Nava Schien’s father, whose shloshim began that night. Having the trips together to experience such a moving moment increased the feeling of achdut and unity between the two trips. Day 16 was such an amazing day, and I can’t wait for the next two weeks, which I already know will be some of the most special, impactful moments I’ll ever experience.