My name is Uri and I am graduation from the 12th grade this year. It is my last year at the Ben Yakir Youth Village.
This year was a good one, even a great one. Many good people spent this year with me - staff and friends.
It is hard to leave Ben Yakir. The goodbyes were difficult. I hope to come back and visit.
The special experiences I had this year include 2 delegations that I participated in - to Australia and to Poland. I didn't know anything about Australia before my visit. It was very surprising to get such a great opportunity from the village. We traveled with members of the choir to perform for the Jewish community. I will remember especially the special performances. The flight was very long, but after such a special experience there, it was difficult to leave all the people we have met there. The delegation to Australia taught me that English is an important subject at school, and it is a useful language that is being used everywhere.
The journey to Poland was a good experience. We saw and heard about everything that has happened there during the Holocaust. I specifically remember the visits to the concentration camps. The most memorable moment was standing next to a mountain of human ashes in Maydanek. At that moment I was thinking about the families of the people that were murdered there, and how they felt when they saw their loved ones cremated.
After the journey to Poland, many of us decided they want to contribute more to the state of Israel and enroll in a significant combat military service in the IDF.
My group, Dekel group, is very unified. Together we have activities, sit and talk, laugh. I have a feeling that we will stay in touch even after we leave the village.
I look back and remember the day that I arrived at Ben Yakir- I was afraid, excited, shy, I didn't know anyone. The activities at the boarding school, the group discussions, and the extra-curricular array helped me in becoming attached to my friends and to the village.
The person that had the biggest affect on me this year is my good friend, Eliyahu. We had many conversations about life, we consulted each other and thought about the future together - whether to continue in higher education or go straight to the army. We decided to continue together to 2 more years of studying in Hadassah Neurim Youth Village and later on join a combat unit at the army, together. Eliyahu and I participate in the track&field program together. Eliyahu influenced me in investing more and advancing more - in sports and in school. We gave each other strength and that helped us to not give up.
To my friends and myself, I wish a great year next year. I hope each of us will fulfill his dream and succeed in life. To the new students that will arrive at Ben Yakir, I wish they will never give up. Remember that if we could do it, so can you. It is only a matter of will.
I would like to thank the staff that helped and supported us. To Odelya, that helped us with school, she did her job as we needed. To Hanan the choirmaster, that taught me how to sing, and escorted us in Australia. To the friends that were a big help throughout the years. A special thanks to Yossi and Lior that educated us and helped us. Thank you both for the experiences that enabled me to get to know the world through Australia and Poland.