I now have a higher respect and appreciation for the Chagim.
Spending the Chagim in Israel was a completely different experience than the one I usually have at home. Instead of being with family, I was surrounded by friends. Instead of staying home or celebrating with close family friends, we celebrated the Chagim as a community. Getting an in depth explanation of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, why it is celebrated or what we are celebrating was really eye-opening. I now have a higher respect and appreciation for the Chagim. While it is a shame we had to stay on campus rather than go to host-families due to the pandemic, I think that this was an unforgettable and amazing experience.
Yom Kippur is, personally, one of my favorite Chagim. Despite not eating, drinking or using electronics the entire day, I find it a very rejuvenating Chag. You take a break from all of the activities that keep us busy through the days, months and years and focus on today and reflect on what you did in the past year. Back home my family would get together and play board games throughout the day and overall spend quality time together. That is one thing I missed a lot this year.
After Yom Kippur was over in Israel and America, I called my parents to see how their Yom Kippur went and they said that it wasn’t the same because I am always the one to insist on playing the board games to keep everyone from being bored. Back on campus I was able to create a similar experience to that I have at home. In the free time we had between the services at the Beit Knesset, my friends and I played a ton of card games to pass the time and it ended up being extremely fun and very similar to the experience I have at home but way better.