2009 Israel Trek

If the 2009 Israel trek was characterized by anything, it was by a sense of duality. It was at once a spiritual trip regardless of religious affiliation, and at the same time a crazy, fun-filled, couch-dancing experience that left all of us exhausted by its end.

Organized by five Israeli members of the Class of 2010-Oren Mor, Assaf Harlap, Ron Davidson, Guy Shapira and Avital Sterngold, the trek took 80 HBS students on a whirlwind tour of the country.

When the trip began in Tel Aviv, with RCs and ECs arriving in sporadic groups, we could not have known the level of access we would have over the length of the trip www.replicabestsale.co.uk. Opening the night with a party that would define the remainder of the trip, we partied the night away in a labyrinth-like nightclub that gave us our first taste of the energy that Tel Aviv had to offer. But the city’s energy had nothing on the group of students, who experienced all of Israel’s must-sees and then some by the time the journey was over.

We did all of the expected. Float in the Dead Sea and paint ourselves in mud afterwards? Check. Climb Masada before dawn to watch the most beautiful sunrise some of us have ever witnessed? Did it. Experience, in awe, the Wailing Wall, and almost feel a sense of intrusion as visitors wept and experienced religious dreams? Cross it off the list. Get a taste of the religious history and significance of Jerusalem? We can talk about what we saw. Golan Heights, which straddles Syria and Israel, and is the point of much contention? We were there. Holy Sites of Nazareth? Check out our Facebook albums. Laid-back lounging on the beaches of Eliat? Our tans spoke for themselves tag heuer replica for sale . Prodded into pensive introspection after a heavy afternoon at Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial of the Holocaust and its victims? I’m certain that none of us left untouched. But most of all, it was the unexpected that made the Israel trek the trip of a lifetime.

In that over-the-top way that HBSers take storm of a country, the organizers set up an oceanside buffet dinner in Tel Aviv where trekkers got to know one another better while lounging on white pillows as waves crashed in the background and torches lit our path to the bar. We feasted on a Mediterranean dinner, mingled with family members of our schoolmates and traded predictions of just how fabulous the remainder of the trip was going to be.

In true HBS fashion, we had unparalled access to some of the world’s most interesting people, which is how we found ourselves in the Knesset, the legislative branch of the Israeli government. After being searched and led into an almost disappointingly ordinary room, our excited chatter gave way to silent respect as Tzipi Livni, leader of Israeli’s opposition party and one of the country’s most powerful politicians entered the room. After a brief address, she took our questions and shared her thoughts, including those on a two-state solution. And though it didn’t match the weight of meeting one of the world’s most respected women, a panel and networking reception replete with executives of Israel’s most successful high-tech firms ensured that our trek was about both work and play.

After checking into a kibbutz, a collective community traditionally based on agriculture, we hit the pool to relax before the night’s activities, where we found ourselves again experiencing the contradiction that defined the trip. After eating dinner in the kibbutz dining room, we moved on to a bonfire party, where our Israeli classmates plucked branches from looming trees, wrapped potatoes in foil, and used the braches to position the potatoes for prime roasting. We may have envisioned s’mores when we arrived, but we’d devoured fire roasted potatoes by the time we left. And we did so while basking in the musical-guitar and vocal-talents of our schoolmates, as we were serenaded well into the wee hours of the morning to the sounds of Bob Marley, Smashing Pumpkins and more.

One night in Jerusalem, seventy-nine hungry and agitated trekkers looked on with dinner on our mind as Avital Sterngold explained the characteristics of the limestone in the Beth Govrin caves that she couldn’t wait to show us. We begrudgingly followed her up a path, all the while mumbling about the unfortunate timing of this cave expedition that none of us really wanted to go on. Screams of delight rang out as we entered the party to end all parties. Entertainers on stilts, a DJ setting the mood, sushi and fondue bars, unlimited drinks and a scrumptious buffet greeted us. We ate, we danced, we lounged on the chairs, and marveled at the ability of the organizers to pull off the party of the year in a historical cave that the following day would welcome tourists without any idea of the festivities we had enjoyed just the night before.

We visited the awesome ancient city of Petra, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, after crossing the border into southwest Jordan. After marveling at the talent of people who had lived so long ago, we did a desert tour of Wadi Rum, complete with a traditional drink of tea and a raucous group roll down a gigantic sand dune.

We met with brilliant Israeli and Palestinian teenagers collaborating on technology projects as part of the MEET program, co-founded by our own Assaf Harlap (MBA `10). We listened and pondered as we saw teenagers laughing, learning from one another and providing hope for the future of Palestinian-Israeli relations. We felt a bit sheepish as they described the amazing projects they were working on. We left impressed, once again, with the legacies our classmates have already begun to give to the world.

And in the end, just like in the beginning, there was Tel Aviv. The fashionistas on the trip hit up Shenkin Street and snapped up the city’s latest styles, buying gifts for both others and ourselves. We had a send-off party to trump all send-off parties, in a gorgeous garden restaurant with vintage furniture, delicious food and a slide show of the trip’s greatest moments. We dined, we reminisced breitling superocean replica, we conspired to return again one day, and of course, we pregamed for one last trampling of the couches at Tel Aviv’s most trendy clubs.

Nana believes in living a fabulous life and thinks you should too.ÿAt HBS by way of UPenn, Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and Chanel, she loves to read, write, travel, cook, eat, spend time with friends and family and be impulsive.ÿShe publishes BupGrade.com, contributes to The Press Play Show and finds a little bit of time for her cases.