To all worried parents and other interested readers: Our first full day in Israel is complete and Bus 925 had an incredible introduction to the Holy Land!
Hey, it’s Helaine, and I’m writing to you straight from the Nof Ginosar Hotel, where we slept last night and will be sleeping the next two nights. However, we haven’t spent much time at all in our rooms because we’ve constantly been on the go, beginning with breakfast this morning. Yea, there were your normal breakfast foods, i.e. pancakes and cereal. BUT, there was also fish and cheese, salad and borekas- a typical Israeli breakfast. And it Was. DE-licious!
After a few more get-to-know-you games, we boarded the bus
and drove north to the Tel
Dan Nature Reserve- which is home to the Dan River, one of the three main water sources of the Kinneret. It reminded some of us of the Binghamton Nature Preserve, except the weather was GORGEOUS (some people even stuck their feet in a wading pool), and well, we’re in Israel.
At the end of our walk through the nature reserve, we were greeted by a group of Jeeps, ready to drive us over the bumpy, muddy, flooded roads up to the Golan Heights. At the top, we learned about Israel’s gains in the Six Day War, which included the Golan Heights from Syria.
The jeeps dropped us off at a shopping center: Lunch time! While a few opted for the kosher McDonalds, most of the group enjoyed either falafel or schwarma. For many , it was the first time they were tasting these Israeli favorites, but nobody regreted their decision to try something new.
Once we got back on the bus, we headed up long and winding roads to one of the highest point in Israel- Mt. Bental. From there, we were able to look across at Syria, and we even got to go inside an old bunker! (Don’t worry, it was completely safe- we’re all back at the hotel!) Although a bit chillier at such a high elevation, Mt. Bental was a beautiful site.
When we got back to our hotel, we were greeted by our luggage- FINALLY- straight from Ukraine! At dinner, we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Marissa! What better way to spend your 21st birthday in Israel?! After dinner we had our first “Hillel Discussion” and spoke about whether or not it feels different to be Jewish in Israel than we do in the United States. Now we’re all hanging out and getting to know one another better before we go to bed—another full day ahead tomorrow!!