Post 11: Kibbutz Yiftach – My New Home

Today began at 8 Am. After splitting a bottle of vodka with my former madrich Ran last night, this was an unpleasant experience to say the least. After manhandling 200 pounds of luggage (you try moving to the other side of the world for three years) and hailing a taxi, I arrived at the auditorium where the ceremony welcoming us to the Garin Tzabar program would be held a little after 10 AM. Watching the soldiers from all over the world who had gone through the program before us pour into the building was quite an experience. Their units ranged from regular infantry to special forces, but all had in common a love for the state of Israel and a desire to protect it. The ceremony was rather standard as far as ceremonies go but for the speech by Shaul Moufaz, the former Chief of Staff  (aka the head of the entire army) and minister of Defense for the state of Israel, who welcomed us to Israel and thanked us wholeheartedly for our dedication to her security. Coming from such a national hero it really made all of us feel proud to be here.  After the ceremony and dozens of pictures by Jewish mothers, we boarded the bus and headed north to Kibbutz Yiftach, which is to be our home for the next year.

As we escaped the commotion of Tel Aviv, cow pastures turned into rolling hills. Out our windows we watched as the sun set over northern Israel, and a bright orange hue meshed with the brown landscape to create an incredible vista.  Being three hours from Tel Aviv will have it’s pluses and minuses.  On the upside, I will be surrounded by beautiful landscapes and far from the distractions of city life as I attempt to learn Hebrew and get into fighting shape.  On the downside we are less than 700 meters from the Lebanese border which has been heating up in the past few days. Members of the kibbutz told us that during the last Lebanon war you could actually see the Katusha rockets flying overhead on their way into Northern Israel. Comforting. (Don’t worry Mom- we are in what you might call a target poor area. They would much prefer to shoot them at the city 20 KM south of here).

I have yet to see our kibbutz during the day. Tomorrow we will set up our Israeli bank accounts and hopefully get our cell phones. I am continually amazed at how many different faces one nation the size of New Jersey can have. The bustling city life and crowded beaches of Tel Aviv turn into cow pastures less than an hour North. I have never lived so far from a city before and it will be interesting to see how I adjust to life here. Fortunately there are some things that I am familiar with in this strange land called Northern Israel. One of them is a bar, which is what I am currently leaving my computer to go and search for.

Some things never change. Au Revoir.


4 Responses to “Post 11: Kibbutz Yiftach – My New Home”

  1. Ran the Madrich Says:

    See You in Tel Aviv…
    Its your turn next time 🙂

  2. g2-ede3edf4c00c2ade71fe0ac99c77f46c Says:

    Lived at Yiftach as a volunteer for 6 months in 1969. Wonderful kibbutz, warm people (Not sure how many still there!) very secure and peaceful. Was too young for the bar scene back then but I’m sure Kiryat Shmoneh still has many restaurants.
    Enjoy your stay!

  3. Rachel Bench Says:

    does kibbutz iftach still host Garin Tzabar? if not do you know which kibbutzim do?

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