February 22, 2014

don't jewish you could israeli folk dance?

On wednesday I donated blood! It was quite the experience doing it in Israel. We had to fill out the information that was in Hebrew, haha it was difficult. It was super chill in there and there were lots of food. We were trying to beat the JC record of 56 people donating blood but we didn't make it. It was fun though. I can now say I donated blood in Israel! How cool is that?

Wednesday night we met Elias Feinzilberg, a Holocaust survivor. It was the coolest opportunity. He can only speak spanish and hebrew so we had translators. He is 96 years old and he is the cutest man. He told us about his story. I was surprised how young he looks. I could pull off being 75. He was awesome. He was the only survivor in his family. In the first picture he is sharing a picture of his family. He survived 9 concentration camps. His story was so detailed. He remembered how many days he was at certain places and specific details. I was impressed, but how could he forget this horrible experience? He is an amazing happy man that has gone through so much. I tried to take notes on what he said. It's very long but basically he was separated from his family from the beginning. He talked about how awful the concentration camps were and the ghettos. He constantly said how little food they got. He said how well trained the nazis were and how some of the enjoyed killing. It's so awful. I can't even imagine. Elias says that people don't believe him when he tells his story. It's just so unreal. They made soap out of the human skin and had them wash with the soap. Elias was about 22 years old when the war started. About 5 years later the war was getting over. They gave them potato bags but they didn't know what they were for until they got to a river. The Americans then came a saved them. What an amazing story. The american said "you are free" and he said "but I have two SS behind me." Haha he had a good sense of humor. His son was there and it was cool to talk to him. 

After the war, many jews still died because eating shocked their systems. They then took them to an american camp were 10,000 people there. He worked in the kitchen there and that's where he met his wife. In the picture you can see his ink that says B1259. His wife didn't get inked. They said his wife didn't like talking about her story. I wish I could have met her as well. They were married in Germany. He had an uncle in Guatemala and they moved there and lived there for 22 years. They had two kids there and then moved to Jerusalem where they had 2 more kids. He has 7 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren and one on the way. It was such a special experience hearing him speak. He says this experience has made him have a purpose in life. He says "I won". He said "if the war would have gone on for one more month I would not have survived." After he found out his family died, he said was motivated him to stay alive was to have a family of his own someday. He is a very family centered man. I'm amazed how normal him and his wife's life was. They are so positive. He said what we could take away from this was to be good people. I think this is amazing. He is such an amazing example of hope and charity. He made a video for yad vashem. His family gives him strength. He has so much love for others, it was amazing meeting him.
Thursday night we had the Passover Seder Meal. They have this ritual when they start the passover. It was a really cool experience. Our teacher Ophir led it. We had these books that we sang from and he told us when to drink the grape juice and food. We had the best food! Our chefs rock! The salmon was so good. People signed up to narrate and to sing. It was lots of fun. We even lifted Ophir up in a cheer. The boys rapped and it was so funny.
Brother Seeley postponed our midterm to wednesday so we didn't have our midterm on friday which was SO nice of him! So we decided to go out to West J. It was Dylan's birthday so we kidnapped him. We went to the first train station which is this abandoned train station. It was super cool! There is dancing every night and games and lots of food. The dancing was so fun! I definitely want to go back. i got a yummy smoothie and met some awesome people! It was fun socializing and playing games with people.
Forest Friday. This was accidental.
Friday night we had Israel dancing. This was seriously so fun. I loved it. We got in big circles and danced around. Our instructor was awesome. It was his 52nd birthday the next day so the boys lifted him up 52 times hahaha.

Today (sabbath) was awesome. I loved relief society which Becky taught. This week was really good even though I was sick the whole week. It's hard not to get sick here when everyone else it. It's going around. I'm finally getting over it so that's good. I'm trying not to take each day for granted. I just love it here. Everyone is so awesome. I'm excited for the adventures to come! It kind of makes me sad that it's almost half way to the end of the semester. It's going by way too fast!

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