WST Reflections: Simon Gerst

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As the Jewish people welcomed Hannukah, the Festival of Lights, into their homes, 60 Jewish American high school lacrosse players chose to leave the comfort of their homes on a trip that they may never forget. They flew to Israel where they toured the country, mentored young Israeli children in fringe communities, and played alongside other Israeli youth lacrosse players. They then continued on to Belgrade, Serbia where they were given the chance to compete as Team Israel in a few international friendlies. I was lucky enough to have a few of them reflect on one or more of their experiences.

Name: Simon Gerst

Age: 16

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Position: Defense

Favorite Israel Lacrosse Winter Service Trip Experience

My favorite Israel Lacrosse experience would have to be going to an Arab village and teaching young Arab children how to play lacrosse. Lacrosse is in every sense a universal language.

I have only played for a few months, but I have already been able to teach and spread the sport further than my imagination. The kids of this village spoke no English and spoke little Hebrew, but I was still able to teach them a completely foreign game solely based off of my passion for the sport and a willingness to teach it.

There are very few (if any) sports other than lacrosse that someone can teach in less than two hours and leave a lasting impact on a person’s life.

I love lacrosse and lacrosse is extremely important to me and I am extremely happy I was able to spread the game that I love in a country I now consider my second home. Israel is a special place with special people, and lacrosse is the means by which I believe a difference can be made in this profound place.

This trip has left me with an experience I will never forget and has left an impact on my life I couldn’t have experienced anywhere else other than playing lacrosse and playing lacrosse in Israel.

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Halsey, originally from New York, graduated from Cornell University in 2009. She moved to Israel in April 2015 and currently resides near Haifa on Kibbutz Yagur where she studies Hebrew in an intensive Ulpan course and cares for animals at the kibbutz zoo. She trains and competes with Team Israel and is working to grow the game of lacrosse throughout the country.

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