search linkedin twitter instagram facebook
Impact Fellowship Blog

How Muss has Changed Me-Elinor Hall

As I write this, it is the third day of Hanukkah. This seems impossible to me because it feels like just last week that I went on my first tiyul to Tel Gezer with Michael, our Israeli studies teacher. As the semester is coming to a close, I have begun to think about what I will take home with me and how I will implement the lessons I've learned here back at home.

While I have attended Muss, I have explored my relationship with my Jewish identity, from Zionism to Kashrut. One thing that I have been thinking about especially is keeping Shabbat. This concept wouldn't be something I would think twice about back in Washington, as I live in an overwhelmingly secular city. When my friends would go out to the movies on a Friday night, I would eagerly hop into the car and go (despite my mom's protesting). But since I've been at Muss, I have gained a new perspective. Shabbat here has been the one day of the week that we have, as students, to wind down from our whirlwind of a schedule. It is a time to forget about deadlines and due dates, the distractions of social media, and other daily stressors and focus on the present.  

Every Shabbat at Muss is something special; whether we are meditating in Tzfat, or taking a midday stroll in a Tel Aviv park, we are given a day of calm and quiet with our friends and teachers. For me, Shabbat has become not only a time of rest from the nonstop excitement and motion of my schedule but also a time for reflection. I have found that giving myself this time to recharge, just once a week, leaves me energized and renewed, motivated and ready to take on the challenges of the week to come. When unencumbered by the (important, but never the less stressful,) demands of general studies, and deadlines, I find myself able to more deeply pursue my connection with God. 

Muss has given me an environment to explore my Judaism in a way that would have been simply inaccessible to me at home, this opportunity for spiritual introspection has been more than a privilege. This experience has served as a catalyst for a new phase of growth, one which has only just begun. I will be bringing this new appreciation for Shabbat (along with new ideas, perspectives, and friends) back across the globe with me when I return to Bellingham. So when I get home, as soon as Friday evening rolls around, I will join my mom in the kitchen, help prepare a delicious Shabbat meal, sing songs, unplug from my phone, and simply give myself time to recharge, reflect, and connect.

Elinor Hall