When I signed up I was hoping for and expecting hard work, but I never realized how intense my assignment would end up being.

Here is how it all began: As you may have read, an Israeli went missing two week ago, and this is what has happened since…

Sunday – There was a dead body abandoned on the side of a road and we went to see if it was the missing Israeli. It wasn't. We then spent the rest of the day running through the streets making announcements and trying to garner interest, information and search volunteers.

Monday – Recruiting dozens of people to join search parties. My partner Yehuda and I split up on the searches so I am alone now.

Tuesday – Recruiting, dealing with international press, and fundraising.

Wednesday – Waiting for Israeli backpackers-turned-rescue-workers to show up (which is an adventure for itself), traversing cow jammed roads at 60 miles per hour going up to the mountains, and hiking in the dark.

Thursday – Getting up at 5 am, hiking across cliffs, crossing a treacherous river on a rickety log. After a five hour hike, we arrived at a town consisting of four guest houses, and to top it all off I was fasting (today, is the Ninth of Av when we mourn the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem). Broke my fast on mangoes, hard boiled eggs, and warm Coke.

Friday – After a sleepless night, I went on a ten hour hike, combing a mangrove forest (mangroves drop their seed so densely that combing through one mile took us five hours!) with a stray dog who decided to adopt me. I ate lunch with my feet dangling over a cliff. Got back and immersed myself in a hot spring full of people and sulfur to prepare for Shabbat, established a Chabad House in Khare-Ghanga, and prepared its first Shabbat meal (we are going to have mangoes, hard boiled eggs, and the challahs that Yehuda kindly sent me).

Shabbat –Someone stole my pants (welcome to India) so I celebrated Shabbat in my PJs. I walked the search team until as far as I was permitted to walk on Shabbat, and as they toiled getting up the mountain I encouraged them and sang for them (I have a pretty loud voice so the residents of Khare-Ghanga got to enjoy it too!). I spent the rest of Shabbat wondering if mangoes and hardboiled eggs is what I'll eat for the rest of my life.

Sunday – I marched with a group back down the mountain and, due to some bad directions, we got completely lost and landed ourselves on "holy" ground, got chased off because we were wearing shoes, and ended up climbing up a cliff. Our taxis didn't show up so we walked a large part of way.

Monday – Recruiting, recruiting and cow milking.

Tuesday - Running a Chabad House can be tough, but with Yehuda off helping with the searches, it's gotten particularly hard. Incidentally, the kosher restaurant is packed for the first time in weeks, so I'm running around taking orders.

Wednesday – The trail is starting to get cold and people want to give up, but we just found a possibility of a lead.

Thursday – Recruiting can start growing on you. Whenever I meet an Israeli I automatically ask, "So are you coming on the searches? Oh, and by the way did you put on tefillin today?"

Friday – I woke up with the daunting realization that I'll be running the Shabbat meal and entertaining 200 guests tonight all by myself! Hopefully, by the time Shabbat is over, I'll have recruited them all to join the search effort…

An incident which kind of sums it all up: One of the guest house owners asked if the lost person is a celebrity. We told him that he wasn't. He asked why we were searching for him, and one of the Israelis answered, "All Jews are family."

I hope to have good news soon. In the meantime, please pray for the safe return of Ami-Chai ben Devorah.

Leading a search party over the mountains.
Leading a search party over the mountains.