Israel Free Spirit
Bus 541

Rest and Rage? What’s that? Day 5

Shabbat on Saturday was peaceful and necessary. We were given the morning off, to sleep until about 11:00am, which was key for those of us that had partied past 4:00am. There was a rested vibe in the cafeteria at lunch and we were all excited to enjoy a day at the hotel.

At Ramet Rachel, there were a few things we could do. We had the option to hang out in the lobby or rest in our rooms, visit the pool and poolside lawn to lounge, hit up the water slide at the top of the resort or just sort of mosey around the place or visit the gift shop.

Everyone basically split up – groups did their own thing. A number of the guys had a hankering for some physical competition, so we ventured off to a separate section of the resort near the hostels to play some basketball. We met a group of young French guys and challenged them to a few games of 3 v. 3 and 4 v. 4. Sweating and breathing heavy felt productive for our short-term health. After exhausting ourselves a bit, we jumped in the pool to cool off and play some volleyball and cruised down the water slide for some childlike amusement.

At the lawn by the pool, 541’ers were napping, getting some work done on their laptops, reading and engaging in some laid back conversation. At 6:00pm, we wrapped up our free time, well rested and energized for the evening ahead, and regrouped in the basement shelter for our next activity to be led by our fine group of Israelis.

Shout out to the Israelis for putting together an awesome event. We split up into two teams and competed to manufacture the best hummus, answer a number of Israel trivia questions, and dress up a member of each team in military attire to observe who got it closest to correct, all in Jeopardy form, so there were some serious points on the line.

After a quick dinner, we ventured to a lookout point nearby to watch the sunset over Jerusalem. There we began our ‘stalking’ activity that was assigned to us earlier on in the week. One by one, participants stood in front of the group and presented their assigned peer to the audience, digging into personal and factual learnings found throughout the week. There was a good mix of genuine feedback and pure Facebook stalking, but we made it out (of what could have been a tornado of epic awkwardness) unscathed.

Alas, it was time for a night out on the town. Bus 541 bumped its ‘playlist’ on the quick ride to downtown Jerusalem. With birthright name tags gleaming in the night, we strutted our birthright swagger through the center of town. Promoters from the popular nightlife spot, Kings, herded us tourists like the camels on day 3, offering premium service and free liquor. Of course, we obliged as a number of us went right inside while others pushed tables together in the outdoor lounge to have a few casual drinks and some hookah.

The environment inside was electric. Chad was dancing on the bar like they were paying him to be up there. At one point, as we waded through the constant splendor of Israeli dance music, a Jay Z song took over the speakers and it felt like home. The night ended rather abruptly, we begged for more time, but continued back at Wafa’s bar through the late night and early morning fully expecting to feel it the next day.

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– JS