Onward Israel Blog: Week 7

Photo: Eva enjoying a classic Israeli meal

I finally got to check surfing off my Tel Aviv bucket list! Onward organized it as a final hurrah beach event for us.

We made the long trek down to Bat Yam Beach, but it was worth every step to get to see HaGal Sheli Surfing Club. HaGal Sheli is a nonprofit organization that serves at-risk youth by creating a community—through surfing! A number of our instructors shared that they were graduates of the program, and that they now worked as volunteers because the experience had been so impactful for them. It was special to be able to support HaGal Sheli by doing something many of us had been wanting to do all summer.

As far as the surfing itself went—it was so fun! By some miracle, I was lucky enough to be one of the few who avoided getting stung by a jellyfish. I even accidentally stepped on a beached jellyfish as I was trying to carry/balance my surfboard on my head. Still no sting!

Learning to surf was a process: It took me a bit to figure out how to hold my board in a big wave without being taken out. Next was learning how to stand up, and, eventually, how to paddle along with a wave on my own. The instructors were so helpful and encouraging. They’d pick the best wave and shout “Up!” when it was time to attempt jumping up. It felt like such an accomplishment when I would stand up and balance for a few seconds, and I absolutely loved scream-cheering for my friends whenever they managed to do the same. There was such good energy! I’m sad I haven’t been surfing all summer, but I’m also glad that I got to go at least once before I head back to the United States.

This past week has been full of other final hurrah, bucket list accomplishments, as we hurry to check them off before the end of the program. I attended my first Maccabiah water polo match, participated in a bar crawl, and finally joined the Havdalah Israeli dancing on the beach. Going into our final week, I am determined to maintain a mentality that doesn’t dwell too much on how soon we leave, but instead, just makes the most of the time we have left. 

Photo: Maccabiah water polo match

Love, Eva Fischer          


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