I hope everyone had a restful Shabbat – I know we definitely did. Last night was Aliyah Bet. Aliyah Bet refers to the illegal immigration of Jews, fleeing persecution in Europe, to Palestine under the British Mandate from roughly 1934-1948. In Mosh terms, Aliyah Bet is when we wake up the kids in the middle of the night and reenact this journey to Israel, trying to convey the real danger and urgency of the trip and the relief of safe arrival.
This summer, the plot of Aliyah Bet was the break-out from Atlit. In October of 1945, the Palmach (a unit of the underground army fighting the British Mandate) clandestinely broke out 200 Jewish refugees who were being held at the Atlit detention center. Atlit was established as part of the White Papers, a measure taken to limit the number of Jews immigrating to Palestine.
The kids were woken up and told to report for duty for the Palmach for a special mission. After an inspiring speech from Yitzhak Rabin (the Palmach officer who led the mission), the kids split up into units and went through an army-training round robin, where they were briefed on the historical context and learned how to sneak and army-crawl.
Then, the kids reached Atlit detention center, located in the MLC. After avoiding the British patrols, the kids crept in and woke up the sleeping refugees, evacuating them without the British waking up. They taught the refugees the line: “Ani Yehudi B’Eretz Yisrael,” I am a Jew in the land of Israel, so that the British wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the newly arrived Jews and those already living in Israel. Then, they all began a hike to Kibbutz Yagur.
Upon arriving at Kibbutz Yagur, we gathered around the flagpole, raised the Israeli flag and sang Hatikva. We entered the chadar, decorated with Israeli flags and streamers, where the kids had doughnuts and hot apple cider. Then they went to bed, with a long sleep-in today. All the kids got really involved in action and had a great time, while learning a lot.