The Desert at Chan Hashayarot

This week, I spent two nights in the desert of Israel to mimic life as a Bedouin. We learned about the Bedouin lifestyle and connected with nature, which also aligns with the values of the holiday the Jewish people are currently celebrating (Sukkot). Some highlights of this experience were stargazing, hiking, watching the sunset, riding a camel, and sleeping in a tent. Though this was my second time there, coming back at this age definitely helped me to appreciate the experience more. This time, I was able to not only soak everything in, but also think about it on a deeper level than I had before. I embraced the culture shock and opened my mind to learning about those who lead different lives than the one I am used to- and that felt good! I felt as though I could understand their way of living and their values, and because of that I gained more of a respect for the Bedouin people.

Throughout my time in the desert, I felt overwhelmed with a feeling similar to that of guilt: I am so privileged what with the materials I have, the energy/electricity I use, and the waste I create. I hardly even think about these things in my daily life while there are people living entirely in the desert, providing for themselves and their tribes, and they are much more exposed to the real world. After thinking about it more, I don’t feel as bad with myself as I don’t believe I am at fault for this. I have realized that people grow up in different places, with different values, and with different lifestyles, and that does not make anyone lesser than another. However, I do recognize how sheltered my life has been, and I hope to experience others’ lifestyles more often to learn, grow, and most of all appreciate.

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