Resilience and the Importance of Decision Making

Charley Ufberg

All I had heard about Masada before I went was how pretty the view was, and how strenuous the hike was. While I found both those things to be true, I have never heard much about the history which, to me, is now the most important part. Something that stood out to me was the number of impossible decisions that had to be made by the Zealots when the Romans were trying to take over Masada. Many of these decisions involved choosing life or death for yourself, members of your family, and other members of the Jewish people. These impossible decisions stood out to me because I have no idea what I would do if I were in that scenario.
I kept thinking about how the decisions they made affected, not only the course of their lives, but the course of Judaism at large. This made me think about the decisions I make. While not nearly as extreme, every day we make decisions which can affect the rest of our lives. One decision that kept coming to mind for me, was the choice to come on TRY; a decision I made on a random day in August and then again decided to stick with in October. Choosing to come to Israel during a time of war was not a decision that was made lightly. However, just a few weeks in, I am already glad that I made it as I have found the experience to be life-changing. Coming here alone has allowed me to connect to my culture and religion, without having to worry about anything else going on back home. I have been able to make friendships that will last a lifetime, and connect to the land more than any time I had been here before.

Standing at the top of Masada, it hit me just how remarkable this experience is. In a time when so many people are against us, I was able to stand there, surrounded by an amazing community, proud to be Jewish and to be in Israel. While on top of Masada, we learned all about the history and learned the phrase ‘shaynit masada lo tipol’ (Masada shall not fall again). After learning and listening, I was able to walk down the mountain. While walking down we began to sing ‘Am Yisrael Chai’. For me, doing that was amazing because not only were we walking down the mountain, something our ancestors didn’t get to do, but by singing ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ it was almost like we were validating the statement we had learned ‘shaynit masada lo tipol’. To me those words mean more now than they would have ever before, echoing the same meaning as ‘Never Again,’ and so many other phrases being used right now to combat the antisemitism and rampant hatred against Jews. I now realize Masada is so much more than a pretty view or a hard hike, it is a timeless reminder of the resilience of the Jewish people and our ability to survive against all odds.

Shabbat D’var Torah from Poland Masa

Every day we rely on our five senses: smelling, hearing, feeling, seeing, and tasting. Since Poland, I believe that these senses have been enhanced. I smelled the stench of leather shoes that my Jewish community walked their final steps in. I heard the cries of babies and young children as

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