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The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

Tzababa Tzeirim

Hila Litvin
Tzababa campgrounds

Every year, the Israeli Scouts of America hosts a five-day trip in Israel. This was to be my first trip. I was to spend three days at a hostel and a few days camping. 

As we gathered to meet, there were kids I knew and many that I had never seen before. I began walking toward the group with my bags; I stood still for a moment and took a deep breath. In my head, I was thinking, “I can do this, I am okay,” but in reality, my heart was pounding with fear

Everyone began to pick up their bags and hug their parents goodbye. My mom came up to me and instead of saying “I love you” or “good bye,” she hugged me and jokingly said, “stay out of trouble.” That moment reassured me that I would be fine. 

As I was walking up the steps of the bus, the cool air conditioning engulfed me and my jitters did too. I sat down in my seat, and a friendly girl I had met earlier called Eleanor sat down beside me. I was so glad; if it wasn’t for her, I would have probably tried to run out of the bus. An hour into the ride, we made our first stop in Tel Aviv-Yafo, a beautiful city known for its famous clock tower and its markets. I quickly grabbed my new friend and we ran off to find some place to eat. A few guys from our group came up to us.

“Can we join you guys?” one of them asked.

Eleanor and I glanced at each other, nodded our heads, and responded in unison. 

“Yes, of course.” Our personalities clicked instantly as we were quick to laugh and make jokes.

 On our search for food, a bright sign caught our eyes. As we reached the sign we were able to make out the print, Slushies! We immediately bought the sweet drink as it was a great way to cool ourselves from the beating sun. 

As we returned to the bus, there was a different feeling. The loneliness and fear had begun to disappear.

We stopped at our hostel for our first night together. Its interior was pretty basic—there was a dining hall, cabins for girls and boys, a field, and staff and kids. During the day, we hiked and did other group activities, and then we stayed up late, talking. My new friends and I  chatted about whether or not we were prepared for what lay ahead—two nights of camping. Could we survive sleeping in the woods with the insects and snakes? Could spend two days with no technology? Our new friendships would quickly be put to the test. 

When we arrived at the campground, there were no tents, comfy beds, or air conditioning, and definitely no internet or charging ports. Mats for sleeping lay sprawled out on the ground. Thin curtains separated the girls from the boys. We set our bags down and began exploring the open area, which was surrounded by tall trees. This was our home for the next few days. 

On the first night, my group decided to get together by the hut area and get to know each other. We came from many different places, but shared the same love for scouts. We talked and laughed before heading off to bed. The night was warm, and there was  no sleeping bag necessary as I lay under a blanket of stars. As people settled in, quiet overtook the area, and I drifted off to sleep. Apparently not everyone had gone to bed, though, as I was awakened by loud music at around three in the morning. It was freezing, which I didn’t think was possible in Israel, and I quickly snuggled into my sleeping bag for a few more hours of sleep.

The next morning, when the sun rose, the temperature and humidity quickly climbed to uncomfortable levels. We were told to dress in our bathing suits, that we would be spending the day at the pool. I was already imagining the cool water on my skin. My friends and I quickly removed our shoes, applied a heavy amount of sunscreen, and dunked ourselves in the water. We had sweet fresh fruits as a snack, a delicious dinner, and spent the perfect night hanging out and talking. 

On our last day in Tzababa, everyone began packing up the camp. It was a sad sight. The trees were no longer covered in Israeli scouts decorations, the ground had no more mats, and the suitcases were all lined up ready for the bus ride back. It had been a fun and busy few days. I hugged my new friends good-bye, vowing to stay in touch. I smiled to myself, realizing that I had grown from the inexperienced and frightened girl I had been in the beginning of this trip into a resilient camper that formed an unforgettable bond with people I had never met before. I now stood there with confidence and a ton of new friends.

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About the Contributor
Hila Litvin
Hila Litvin, Staff Writer
Hila Litvin (’27) is excited to join The Echo. Other than having a passion for writing she also enjoys reading books and she loves acting. In her spare time, she does taekwondo, sings, and hangs out with her friends.