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Impact Fellowship Blog
Stephen Muss (Miami)

Since the beginning of the Chagim, I have had countless amazing and memorable moments...

Since the beginning of the Chagim, I have had countless amazing and memorable moments, from celebrating Rosh Hashanah and partying with my new family, to sitting in a small group and sharing thoughts more intimately. This was my first time spending the Holidays in Israel and I think it made a major difference in my experience.

This Yom Kippur was not my first time fasting, but it was the first time I spent the day without my phone or electronics. I loved disconnecting completely for the whole day and just spending time either relaxing or doing something like playing games or sitting in a hammock with some of my best friends. One of the amazing moments of Yom Kippur was when we went out into Hod Hasharon and basically everyone in the town was walking on foot wearing white and the children were having fun on scooters and bikes. There was not a single vehicle on the road and it was an incredible sight to see. While we were out, we separated in groups and shared how we felt; my sentiments were very similar to everyone else’s. Being part of a minority as Jews in America, we all felt a strong sense of belonging, knowing everyone we saw around us was Jewish.

I thought it was extremely beautiful, especially because I did not know that dressing in white and walking the streets was a tradition here and I was not expecting to see so many people, especially during a pandemic. Another time that stuck with me was the moment that we blew the shofar at the end of Yom Kippur. We were all so hungry and couldn’t wait for those few seconds of sound to allow us to eat. I didn’t think a shofar could ever sound so beautiful. When the shofar sounded, everyone, no matter how hungry, thirsty, or tired, broke into dance and cheer. Then we immediately started feasting. The whole night was filled with food and laughter, a big relief to everyone after experiencing a day of 70 hangry teenagers. I will never forget this week of Chagim and I’m so grateful that I got to spend these times in the Holy Land. It really transformed the whole experience and I would not trade it for anything.