The group at Sde Boker.(Photo by Margarita Korol)

The first night of the trip, at the Sde Boker field school minutes from David Ben-Gurion’s grave, our group readied for the requisite first-night icebreaker games. But there was a twist: After sharing our names, hometowns, and expectations for the trip, we were instructed to reveal our relationship status.

Our group leader, Yoav, had a big bag of peanut M&Ms. Red meant ‘unavailable,’ green ‘DTF,’ and yellow somewhere in between.

This sparked giggles, and later passionate debate among some participants—including Tableteers—about what this game says about the trip:

Stephanie: It’s awkward getting to know people you’ve just met, and I was glad to be reminded of everyone’s names. I just feel like things got patently sexualized with that question. Sure, I’m single, and I’m on this trip, but I’m not on this trip as a single person. I’m just here. I guess I’m a yellow?

Bari: I found it sort of incredible that we began the trip earlier in the day with a speech about how this trip is not about hooking up or partying—only to have our guide give us an explicit push to go and get it. (And I say this as a red!)

I was much more interested in hearing about why people had come on the trip. One participant said he’d come in honor of his father, who passed away five months ago from cancer. Another said she’d come to see the place where her grandfather lived. A third admitted she wanted to get over her fear of travel. And then there were the reasons you’d expect: a free trip; a chance to learn about a new culture; and so on.

Marc: It’s perhaps easy for me to say this as a ‘red,’ but I laughed when he simply said the colors and I figured out what they were for, and then I frankly marveled at its brilliance. Whether or not the trip is about hooking up, it’s on everyone’s minds, and this is a question many people likely had about many other people—and that specific people had about specific people. This was a fun and funny way to put it all out there to minimize awkwardness, missed communications, and perhaps the greatest sin of a jam-packed 10-day trip: wasted time.

Zach (24, red, Brooklyn): It takes the mystery out of it. That’s part of the fun of getting to know people. Now it’s just out there.

Mike (21, green, Long Island): A lot of peopled lied. My friend here who’s in a four-year relationship said he was a green!