Yoni Feldman Greene
Spending Yom Kippur in Israel was an experience that I will never forget. Back home, in Los Angeles, the high holidays, in particular Yom Kippur, are always an extremely spiritual and meaningful moment of my year. However, none have reached the spiritual level of my experience of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem. When I reflect on my experience of Yom Kippur, I don’t think about my hours in Synagogue or the fast. Instead, there is always one critical memory that comes to mind. The moment that will forever be engrained in my mind was the night of Yom Kippur when all of Nativ went outside to the nearest intersection and began to sing.
For me, it wasn’t the singing that made this experience so meaningful. It was the fact that we were able to sing in the middle of that intersection and the fact that so many other Jerusalemites came and sang with us. While sitting in that circle of people, singing on the holiest day of the year, I thought about how lucky I was to be a part of the Jewish people. Never before in my life had I felt such a strong connection to my people and my religion. It was truly amazing to feel like a part of something bigger than myself. As a Jew, I am part of a shared history and tradition that has existed for thousands of years. In that moment, all these thoughts passed through my mind and I felt the most comfortable I had ever felt to be a Jew.
In fact, this moment, for me, was the embodiment of my entire experience on Nativ. The feelings I had at the beginning of my Nativ journey stuck with me throughout the entire year. Living in a land governed by Jewish values where Judaism plays such a crucial part in the day to day lives of most of its inhabitants made me truly feel like a part of the Jewish people. I hope to return soon to the land of our forefathers and I bless everyone with the words that we use to conclude Yom Kippur: לשנה הבאה בירושלים.