Stand UP South Africa: Update #4

Stand UP South Africa
Update #4

Dear Friends and Families,

Friday morning we woke up bright and early to start our drive to Johannesburg. The long drive didn’t feel so long because we were with our friends and we took the time to catch up on sleep. As soon as we arrived in Johannesburg, we got ready for Shabbat. We visited a local Orthodox synagogue where we had a nice Friday night service. Everyone there was so sweet and made us feel extremely welcome! It was so cool seeing the difference between the services at our synagogues back home and the service we had here, and comforting to hear the same prayers. After synagogue we went to the Habonim Dror (a local Jewish youth group) house for Shabbat dinner. When we got there, we were greeted by a bunch of local Jewish teenagers. It was so much fun to meet new kids and see how their experiences compared to ours! After about two hours of hanging out, we walked back to the hotel.

Shabbat Shalom! It was very sunny when we woke up, which was great. A few of us woke up early to go to temple because we really enjoyed the vibe of the congregation and the tunes for the prayers. We all ate breakfast at our Garden House and shortly after a man named Wayne Susman came to talk to us about the Jewish life in South Africa from the past to the present and into the future. We found out where the local Jewish teenagers our age usually hang out Saturday nights so that we could check it out and eat there after Shabbat. After Wayne left, two people decided to jump in the pool for a quick swim not realizing that the pool was actually freezing! We all sat in the sun, napped, read and played cards for a few hours.  Jeremy, our tour guide, spoke to us about apartheid. It was really interesting learning about how the past influences today’s society in South Africa.

We took another break and then welcomed in the new week with a short and sweet Havdallah service. We then went inside for gumboot dancing. As soon as we walked in, we were told to switch into rubber boots. We first used different tube-like sticks as instruments and played cool beats and songs. Then, they taught us different dances. At first, we were pretty slow, but we caught on extremely quickly! After we got the hang of the dance, we had a dance battle. The guys told us how when the Africans were working as miners, they would make it more enjoyable by doing these dances and singing the songs. After the gumboot dancing, we went to Kosher Nandos! We were told that on Saturday night the place is vibing. When we got there, barely anybody was there and it was very quiet, but as the night went along more people came. By the end of the night we had met so many Jewish people from around the area! Afterwards, we went back to the hotel and got ready for our early flight the next morning…

Mulu!! On Sunday we had an early morning flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town. The flight was only two hours and went by so fast; we even made some Argentinian high school friends on the flight who are part of a sports travel team. Shortly after we arrived at our stay, we were greeted by the beautiful Cape Town beach! Our house is right on the water and it is the most beautiful sight we have ever seen. We ate at the house, put our bags down and took some amazing pictures with the beach background!

We got back in the van and were really excited for the cable car up to Table Mountain because on our way to the house from the airport we already saw what it was like! It was very busy on Sunday because it was the last day the cable cars were going to go up the mountain for the season. The ride up to Table Mountain was absolutely magnificent!! The bottom of the cable car rotated so that everyone got a 360 view of Cape Town. Some of us in the group split up to take separate paths for new views of the Mountain. While there, we also learned about rugby!  We all got awesome pictures of the sunset and jammed to music on the line waiting to get down. Since the line was very long, we built up our appetites for Gold Restaurant – a really fun restaurant with dancing and singing dinner entertainment. Plus, dinner was delicious! As part of the show, they chose people to go up to dance and one of the chosen ones was Carlie!!! She was amazing and the best one up there!  Surprisingly, we were all really tired so when we got back to the house, we went to bed preparing ourselves for another early wake up…

Jenna U. and Hailey R.
Stand UP South Africa Participants

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