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In Israel I found a type of spirituality and gratefulness that has remained with me to this day

lnf 1 / 2  
Oct 18, 2014   #1
Word count max: 650 Total word count: 663
I am not a typical Israeli-American. I'm not fluent in Hebrew, I hate Israeli dancing and I can't pronounce the 'r' in my own name properly. That's why the experience I am about to describe snuck up and startled me to the bones. I traveled to Israel with my friends on a youth trip during the summer. It wasn't my first visit but reflecting back on all of them I had never felt moved by my physical presence in the country of Israel. I didn't feel that instant connection many claim to have once in the country. To me it was just a distant country. We visited the Western Wall during the first week and I walked into the women's section wearing black skirt to my ankles. I felt awkward and sweaty standing 10 feet from the wall surrounded by women bending and bowing completely consumed by their prayers. I scanned my brain; did I remember any prayers from my Sunday school days? I wasn't sure, but there was a small spot that had opened up at the wall. I squirmed through the cluster and placed my palms on the wall. Unsure what to do, I looked to my left as a woman wiped her tears onto the stones. It was a forceful experience, I felt forced to close my eyes and say a prayer. I felt the lies crawling under my skin. No one would know what I did at the wall, but the pressure made me pray. I seemed utterly crazy to myself as I walked backwards as far as I could before racing to pull off the skirt turned sauna.

I later discussed with my friend on his purpose in Israel. He thought, maybe, he could find himself here. He thought he could discover what he believed in and stood for. I, on the other hand, just wanted to spend time with my friends and family. It's a funny thought looking back on how unaware I was of the affects my travels had on me. When I visited the cemeteries and memorials, I thought I was just tired, hot and bored. When I saw the port of Haifa, I thought I was just attempting at better wifi connection. When I walked the streets of Tzfat, the Mystical City, I thought I was just exploring, but these events impacted me on a different level. I visited the Western Wall a second time on a Shabbat evening. The sun had already set so I didn't feel sweaty this time. I walked up to the wall, again, having no idea what I was going to do. I placed both palms on the wall and just broke down into thank yous. Not to god, not to anything or being in particular. I did not know who I was thanking, but I knew it was necessary and I couldn't stop. I needed to thank someone for my grandparents survival during the Holocaust. I needed to thank someone because they had a place to go a

After being stripped of a home. I needed to thank someone for all the people laying in the cemeteries who knew what they believed in and what they stood for. For the people willing to give their life for our right to a home. It seemed so incredibly indescribable all at once. I could not envision or empathize in any way. I just continued to thank into the universe for the land of Israel and my opportunity to be a part of it.

My friend did not find any secret part of himself waiting to be discovered. That's the ironic part. Although I will always consider the United States as my home, I found a type of spirituality and gratefulness that has remained with me to this day. A new found pride and responsibility in the country in which I reside, and for my 'other' home country where I know I will always be welcomed.
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Oct 19, 2014   #2
Liora, it would help in editing your essay if we knew what the prompt was. Without it, it will be hard for us to decide which portions of your essay are superfluous and can be deleted and which portions can be merged so that the word count can be brought down. Would you mind providing that as soon as possible so that we can help you with the word count? In the meantime, I will offer some grammatical corrections that will fix some sentences that you may have overlooked in your own proofreading. It will bring your word count up even further but I assure you that we can help you bring down the count as soon as we know the prompt :-)

I walked into the women's section wearing black skirt to my ankles.

- wearing a black skirt...

I later discussed with my friend on his purpose in Israel

- I later spoke to my friend about the purpose of his visit to Israel.

I thought I was just attempting at better wifi connection.

- attempting to get a better wifi connection.

aA fter
OP lnf 1 / 2  
Oct 19, 2014   #3
Thank you for the response! Grammar is not my strong suit so that helps a lot. It's common app topic is: Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

I had it as the subject, I don't know why it changed or why I can't change it back,
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Oct 19, 2014   #4
Liora, while the story that you told is quite engaging and informative, there was nothing in the story that your related or information that you provided which could be considered as an answer to the prompt. The prompt asks you to relate an event that marked a transition from child to adult. I am now beginning to think that perhaps you should have told the story of your Kabutz instead. That is if you actually took one because that is a traditional rite of passage that signifies the transition from child to adult among Jews right?

What the admissions officer is looking for here is not a spiritual awakening or a connection to your people's past, present, and future. He is looking for that moment in your life when you felt that something that told you "Look at me, I'm an adult!" In some of the essays that I have read, these stories usually relate to more responsibility from the parents, taking responsibility for their actions, proving that he is capable of doing something that only adults thought they could do,falling their first animal during a hunt, or, like I said before, a rite of passage in the community or within the family.

If you have a story in your past that falls along those lines, remember, those are only examples and suggestions, meant to serve as your guide in choosing a topic, nothing more, then please revise the essay to reflect that story. Right now, this essay is more applicable to an essay connected to a "your story will be incomplete without it " or "Tell us something about you that will tell us something unique about you" kind of prompt.
OP lnf 1 / 2  
Oct 19, 2014   #5
Because I am applying early action to my top schools by November 1st I want to work with what I have. I appreciate your feedback, I am going to submit it under the Common App topic: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

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