by David Jacobowitz, Los Angeles, CA
Shalem. What is there to say? From spending Shabbat together in Jerusalem to going on strenuous hikes in the Negev, this has been one of the wildest years of my life. Speaking of crazy, this semester’s schedule has been especially hectic- waking up at 7:30 every morning for tefila, followed by intense Ulpan studies and then off to Chazon Yeshaya (Soup Kitchen). Volunteering has impacted my life beyond measure, for when I see that I contributed to the smiles on my customers’ faces it gives me a feeling that I can’t possibly explain in words. Leaving the soup kitchen is as hard as it sounds but doesn’t compare to the pushing and shoving that I endure in Machane Yehuda while trying to supply my apartment with fruits and veggies. Searching for the best deals while having your eardrums attacked by each vendor’s voice that carries to the other side of the shuk isn’t as fun as it sounds, but an experience nonetheless. Being responsible for the budgeting of my apartment has also given me a responsibility that I have never had before, but will have for the rest of my life. Deciding which milk and which peanut butter is the best deal for the apartment is strenuous work, but I am happily enjoying my role as the budgeter for the experience it will give me in the future. Choosing to come on Shalem was the best decision I could of made for it provides me with both the tools for religious growth and for future independent living .