29 Jul Chevre Blogs: Lauren’s Livnot Experience
A little over a year ago, heart full of love, spirit higher than imagined, I somberly packed my things to depart from Livnot U’ Lehibanot. I soon realized the journey to the bus station was quite a schlep with all of my belongings. When the always amazing Aharon got word of this, he graciously offered to give me a ride to the terminal. He asked only in return that since I had such a life-changing experience, that I write a letter about how it made me feel. It has taken me some time to articulate the response due to life in the Western World being so distracting, but also because many of the feelings take time to settle into your soul. I appreciate the patience, as well as the time you are taking to read this now. This experience is only made possible by gracious donors, and while calling around for the Chanukah fundraising event, I became inspired to tell my story.
Livnot is unlike anything else I’ve ever had the pleasure of coming across in this world. What a fitting location it has, as Tzfat is also the most unique city I’ve ever seen. The sense of community the wonderful people who run the program provide, is simply inspiring, to say the least. Livnot allows every participant the opportunity to feel a part of something so much bigger than themselves. It not only provides you a place that truly feels like the home you’d always love to build – wherever you are from and whatever you’ve been through – it also makes you feel at home within the universe. This is something that explaining in English doesn’t quite do justice to, and I’m sure that my Hebrew speaking comrades could put it far more eloquently, but it is one of the most special experiences, beyond what anyone, including myself prior to my arrival, could truly imagine. It immerses you in the culture of Israel, introduces you to magnificently minded people who open doorways to your true soul that may never have been shown to you before, improves self-love, and increases your Jewish identity in such a patient, knowledgeable way. I left Livnot physically, but, after all this time, my soul yearns for it’s love and is made better every day by it’s existence.
I make my community a better place because of my experiences here. This is invaluable in this time of life because there are so many energy and spiritual-less actions and routes being taken in this World. I truly wish that everyone from every single walk of life could have this opportunity. The human race would be a better one for each other, our land, animals, and our souls. Every day I work to apply intention and mindfulness into my realm in positive ways. I believe every Jewish individual should take advantage of this wonderful opportunity, and immerse yourself in the gift that is, Livnot
Livnot U’ Lehibanot is something that can be attempted to be explained, but truly has to be experienced. The impact is seemingly immeasurable, because it literally has the power to change every single part of the world. Personally, I implore anyone curious about their place on this Earth – both spiritually and physically – to take the journey down the cobblestones and up to the lovely campus right near the Artist’s district in Tzfat, however you can get there, even if it’s for one day. Open your mind to new ideas, and let it really take you. Celebrate Shabbat, sing a song to someone less fortunate than you, dig in the Kahal, and just live life to the fullest and allow your self to be enriched and truly built up through the experience. Change can be uncomfortable, but, allowing yourself to shatter your ego and ideals, gives you a chance to rebuild in the ways you’ve always dreamed of. Like a micvah bath, you may unknowingly find yourself entering cautiously and returning the best spiritual version of yourself. It won’t necessarily happen over night, but before you know it, you feel a part and enriched by one of the best communities ever formed. I learned and retained more in my two weeks at Livnot, regarding Judaism and my spirituality as a whole, than arguably 20 years did at my Temple in America. The passion the people there have is truly a blessing. I came home with a cleansed soul, refreshed mind, and motivated attitude to change the world for the better.
The candle that is Livnot burns so bright, and all they wish to do is light your spark, and give it beautiful meaning to you. We all have what it takes to make this planet a better place. Thank you, Aharon, Meir, Odayah, Yehudit, Shira, Maddie, Rivka, Yifat, Yoni, Nina, Michael, baby A’Shira and Avigail, Rabbi Alon, Avraham, the wonderful woman who answers the phones in the office – (who lovingly saved me from being the lost Jew at a Jerusalem bus station) and everyone else it takes to put this type of program on, for truly being the change you wish to see in the world. For building me up and teaching me how to have the courage to build others up, and by extension, changing the lives of every single person I’ve inspired with your love.
The translation of Livnot U’ Lehibanot is to build and be built. These values have resonated in my soul so heavily, that I am eager to one day come and intern with these beautiful souls, and inspire future Chevre, like myself, who have all the potential and just require the spark to light their internal flames and be the best version of themselves.
The Jewish community throughout history built up to be strong and resilient by it’s people’s faith. Livnot exemplifies what it takes to carry this magnificent blessing we all have on, ודור לדור, from generation to generation.
With all the love, deep inside my heart, (that you helped grow stronger),
Lauren לאה ליבא Lieberman