Oshri Olsberg, Boston, MA

Mechinat NACHSHON

One of my favorite things about my year at Mechinat Nachshon is when we are "closed" (stay at the Kibbutz) for Shabbat. Shabbat here has an American flavor meaning that I have been able to incorporate some of my own culture and tradition from Shabbat at home to Shabbat in Israel at Kibbutz Shoval. As a teenager I went to sleep away camp every summer and we would pray the Kabbalat Shabbat service. The same thing is done here at the Mechinah on Friday evenings, except in the beginning none of the Israelis knew the prayers or the melodies. Our first service together was extremely awkward and I feared it would never live up to the standard that my summer camp experience had built. Since that first Shabbat I can confidently say that, as a group, we have come a long way. We have built our own style and mastered the prayers and melodies. I even led the service in its entirety once, which is something I never thought I would do in my lifetime. During this spiritual hour on Friday evenings I have built my strongest memories from my gap year. 

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