We sent Matan off yesterday on his first overnight with B'nei Akiva. B'nei Akiva is one of the main youth group movements in Israel. They start in 4th grade and they get together every Tuesday afternoon and Shabbat afternoon for fun, games and more. Three times a year, they also have overnight trips.
Many of the kids in Matan's grade don't go to B'nei Akiva and we are extremely happy that he is participating. It's a great way to experience Zionism, to feel part of a group and to mature with his peers. Matan is a very social kid and we've been encouraging his participation with B'nei Akiva from the start.
So, he pretty much spent the entire week before the one night trip packing. While Josh was away, Matan was very worried about what bag he would take. He looked at and evaluated every bag in the house. Then it was time to pack his food and to figure out what he would take. Five trips to the grocery store later - he was ready.
Last night when I was putting the kids to bed, they were all talking about where Matan might be and what he might be doing. As I turned the lights out and said goodnight to them, Eliav said, "Goodnight Matan! We hope you are having fun!"
And, indeed, we do hope that you are having fun on your first major excursion with B'nei Akiva and as part of the Israeli youth movement.
His trip reminds me of two things:
1. They sure do grow up fast.
2. Experiences like this are why we moved to Israel. It really makes me kvel to see Matan going off to his Zionist youth movement and preparing to go backpacking and hiking to explore Eretz Yisrael. This one little experience - an overnight with Bnei Akiva - is what it's all about and why we are here.
May he continue enjoying B'nei Akiva as much as he does now, and continue to be a great example for his brothers as they grow and get ready for B'nei Akiva as well.