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Remembering my First Week at BINA | Gap Shnat Sherut

Remembering my First Week at BINA


First a bit of background on myself. Hi, I’m Zack, I’m from Chicago, and am a current participant of BINA’s 2021-2022 Shnat Sherut program. I spent last year in college, so coming to Israel for a year was a very welcome change from being cooped up on zoom all of last year. Since there are only a couple of direct flights to Tel Aviv from Chicago, I had to make the grueling 20 hour journey through New York, although I’d have to think that my friends from Seattle and Utah had it much worse. Upon arriving, I was finally able to meet in person the director of the Shnat Sherut, as well as Ella, Keren, and Odelya, a couple of the other Shnat Sherut and Gap participants who had just landed. 

Waiting outside the airport with Kerry, Ella, and Odelya

After waiting in the heat outside the airport for the last International Shinshinim (that just means a person doing a Shnat Sherut) for several hours, it had turned out that we had the wrong arrival time and she wouldn’t arrive until the evening (Talia, I’m still upset at you for that). After learning that, we all went to our temporarily assigned apartments for a week long Bidud (quarantine in Hebrew, sadly the first word I learned in Israel). So for a week, I quarantined Gonni, Avram, and Ezra. It was honestly much more fun than I had expected, as we pretty much hung out for a week, the whole time pretending that we were adjusting our sleep schedules to the new time zone (via 5pm naps). A week later, it was time to move to our actual apartments. While I was there, a few of us went shopping at the Levinsky Market. Five minutes after leaving, a pigeon pooped on my head, which is apparently good luck (I’m still trying to understand this so if someone could please explain to me), so that wasn’t a very pleasant introduction to central Tel Aviv. A few minutes later, we began passing a whole bunch of stands with bucket hats, which as you will learn very quickly is quintessential to Israeli summer clothing, and I happened to not have one. Upon looking through the endless piles of hats, I ran across one with a bunch of yellow ducks on it (like from the bathtub). “?למה לא…Why not” I thought, as I proceeded to buy the hat along with a matching pair of socks;

the only picture I could find of the duck hat, which happens to be at the Kotel

the perfect pick me up after what had happened minutes earlier with the bird. By the way, that duck hat is still my favorite thing that I have gotten here so far, it’s pretty awesome, zero regrets.

So all in all, your first week or so here might be pretty up and down like mine was, or not, just know that lots of amazing and quirky moments with amazing people await you.

Zack Thompson

// Zack Thompson

Click here to learn more and apply to BINA Gap year

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