CYJ camper and staff member Jack Brown is currently on Young Judaea Year Course enjoying an incredible 9 months in Israel. When we asked him about his experience so far, here’s what he had to say:
The window opened. I felt the strong rush of the air blowing against my whole body. People had told me it was one of the best feelings they had ever experienced but as I looked down with my feet dangling 12,000 feet in the air I had no idea what was about to occur. Before I could even think about it, woosh, I was flying. There are no words to describe it but what they had said was true – it was the best feeling in the world. The rush of adrenaline, the beautiful view of Israel, the happiness, appreciation, and love of life. It felt unreal.
Before I came to Israel, people told me the same thing. They said it would be the best year of my life. They said I would grow and change. They said that I would meet my best friends. Impossible, I thought. Do you ever have these thoughts and imaginations in your head of a utopia? You create all these dream-like scenarios in your head and you suddenly become a product of your thoughts: happy. When people told me all they did about coming to Israel, I started having these thoughts. I envisioned my future life in Israel. On September 1, 2021, I landed in Tel-Aviv, Israel and my life became everything they said it would. My visions became realities.
I am currently in the holy city of Jerusalem learning about my Jewish identity and Israel from phenomenal teachers. I spent my first month and a half living in Tel-Aviv. After enjoying the beach and exploring the best food in the most westernized city in the Middle East, I decided to challenge myself by living in uncomfortability for seven weeks. I woke up around 5:30 am every day, put on my uniform, carried an M16, and learned what it’s like to be a soldier in the IDF. This program is called Marva and I highly recommend it. I strengthened my mentality, appreciation, and love for Israel and Judaism. After Marva, we did a month of service all around Israel.
It’s been 6 months. Everything they said was true. I met my best friends, I’ve learned and grown so much as an individual, and it’s truly been the best year of my life.
The parachute opened and the 45 seconds of flying were over. I was now floating in the air overlooking the beautiful view in tranquility. The professional to whom I was attached let me take reins of the parachute. I now had the power to lead the way. If I could have, I would’ve gone back to the mini airplane 12,000 feet in the air. But I couldn’t, the door was closed. All I could do now was look back and appreciate. Thank you Mami and Papi.