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Impact Fellowship Blog

Yom Kippur at the Kotel - Zachary Banin

Celebrating Jewish holidays is always special, but it is even more special when you are celebrating them in the holy land of Israel. The main reason that celebrating holidays in Israel is so special is because most of the Israeli population are also celebrating these holidays.  Every holiday that I have celebrated in Israel on AMHSI has been great, but my personal favorite so far is easily Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur was the first holiday that I got to experience on HSI after getting out of quarantine. Erev Yom Kippur was a very action-packed night. I got to walk around Jerusalem on the streets since there was not a single car on the road. After going to Shul, we started singing songs in a circle with some other people who were not on our program. I saw two of my former counselors from last year and my former counselor who moved to Israel around two years ago. It was really great talking to him. I also ran down a hill with my friend just for fun. After that, I walked back to my room barefoot, which was a really great experience. I really bonded with some people that night. 

The next day was more calm but it was very nice. I woke up and went to shul which was really cool. We walked to the Kotel and I was having a pretty easy fast at that point. This was not my first time in the Kotel on AMHSI, but it was my first time there during a holiday so I was shocked by how many people were there. During the last hour of the fast I started to feel sick, but I got through it and I got to break my fast in the Kotel. After that we danced with some random Rabbis down some stairs which was also really fun.

To sum this all up, Yom Kippur is my favorite holiday to celebrate in Israel because of how much fun I had. I started to become very close to certain people, and I felt more spiritually connected to the holy land of Israel. That entire experience is something that I will never forget.

Zachary Banin