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Shoko Basakit, Forests, and BBQs

This morning, we woke up with a rush. A few hours of sleep helped propel us into the first day of the rest of our lives. We were greeted with a typical Israeli-style breakfast, full of "Shoko BaSakit" and a cucumber/tomato medley. Then, we were introduced to the various staff members of Afula, each of whom plays a vital role in the success of the home. Their individual stories were inspiring, and they taught us valuable lessons. Using that inspiration, we decorated the lunchroom with streamers and posters in order to boost the spirits of the kids and make a great first impression. Then, all the preparation came down to this moment. The kids began to stream in. The pressure mounted. For the rest of the day, the pressure never subsided. It was there when we brought our kids to a ropes course in the middle of a forest. It was there when we sat amongst our peers at a barbecue. It's still there in the pits of our stomachs as we lay in bed, on pillows that aren't ours, in beds that aren't ours, and in a home that isn't ours. YET. We understand a valuable lesson here at Afula: we are the first of many. We are here to plant a seed, and hopefully, after years of watering, the seed will flourish into a beautiful tree. Later in the evening, we saw a boy at Neve Michael sing his heart out on Rav Yair's shoulders. It could not be any more fitting that his song choice was "Acheinu," a song that speaks about the power of unity and friendship. That only happened because of the years of work they did there. We aim to do the same and break the cycle of distress. The pressure that mounted all day is normal. And the fear of failure will drive our success.

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