Bus 1001- #3
Posted by: Blog Comittee on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 12:00:00 am | Comments (0)
These past few days have been a whirlwind, and we’ve barely had time to sit down to blog. Today is day 4 in Jerusalem. We’ve had an amazingly busy time. On day 1, we left Ashkelon early, and arrived in Jerusalem. We went to the Tower of David Museum and saw a breathtaking view of the Jewish quarter, and the whole city. Doron explained to us that you can see all of the major religious sites from the roof of the museum. It is so interesting that so many different religions reside in the most important religious city in Judaism. He also explained that we need to understand the beauty of Jerusalem past just what we are seeing. For us, it is really easy to get to Jerusalem and Israel by just sitting on a plane and then taking a bus from our hotel. However, part of the beauty of the city is found in remembering all of the people who died and suffered for the Jewish people to prosper and eventually make it to the land where we are standing. To celebrate that, we said the Shehechiyanu to begin our journey through Jerusalem.
Later that day, we visited the Kotel. That was a very emotional experience for me. As soon as we walked to the wall, I was overcome with emotions. It is hard to say exactly what I was feeling. Part of me was sad, thinking about all of the people who have died for the Jewish people to remain a unit. On the other hand, I think the major emotion I was feeling was thankfulness. I felt so lucky to be a part of a group of people and a religion that has remained
Bus 1002 - June 9 and 10
Posted by: Blog Committee on Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 12:00:00 am | Comments (1)
Tel Aviv is the largest city in Israel by population, a number that resides around 850,000. Though tiny compared to a major American metropolis like New York or LA (the former's population resides at over 19,000,000), Tel Aviv is extremely diverse and is arguably the most progressive city in the middle east. The Friday we were there, for instance, was the day of an annual lgbt pride parade, often noted as the largest in the middle east. Time constraints did not allow us to attend, but my visit to Tel Aviv was still wonderful and introduced me to plenty of things I haven't seen on my previous visits.
The first was Carmel market, especially busy before Shabbat. It's a long street with shops piled on top of each other on each side. Signs scream out the prices of every product imaginable - fresh food, candy (which I got, a transaction I pleasingly did entirely in Hebrew), bathing suits, and everything else imaginable and unexpected. After getting through that hubbub, we arrived in a square where we had some free time to get lunch and shop around a bit.
David led a few of us to a local pizza shop, where he knew some of the workers. The nine in our group ordered five pies (the slices were thin and we were hungry - don't judge). I also got a lemon fanta, which I haven't seen before. It was okay. Tastes like Mountain Dew. There, also, a few guys hit on some Israeli girls, amusingly oblivious that they were probably lesbians since they were chatting about the parade the whole time.
After that bit of free time, we congregated back at the square that was at the exit of the Carmel market. Before moving on to Independence Hall, I noticed a street artist was performing in the square. She was a middle-aged-looking woman dressed as an angel, clothes and makeup white as cloud. I realized how terrible it must be to be a street artist. To do that as a living must require some sort of artistic temperament. But that kind of artistic temperament does not lead one to be a painter or a novelist, but instead an actor who stands around and pretends to be a nonmoving angel for hours at a time. They are the least inspiring kinds of artists, with such little creativity and such little meaning behind their work.
Ironically, much of the architecture in Tel Aviv is in German style. Koren told us that during WWII, many Jews left Germany for Tel Aviv, and many of those Jews were among Germany's finest architects. This is only part of the long tradition of Israel being a home for Jews who were expelled elsewhere, and them bringing their talents to our homeland.
Allenby Street, on which we walked to get to Independence Hall, was something unique. It represented space and time on Earth. Stores had signs in every language, owned by people from all over the world. Stores selling antiques stood by stores selling the latest in digital photography. It's because of Allenby Street and other places like that around Tel Aviv that the city is considered an International Heritage City, one of the few in the world.
Our tour guide in Independence Hall was funny, engaging, and thoughtful. One of the things he told us is that Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israeli independence day, is celebrated every year on the Hebrew date, not the date on the Gregorian calendar. This is part of the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
The room where the Israel Declaration of Independence was signed was surprisingly small. I guess I always thought it would be in someplace epic, like a grand concert hall or auditorium. But no, it was merely a small art gallery (where the art still hangs). The room did, however, have wall-to-wall carpeting and shiny AC, which I don't think was there in 1948 but I'm thankful for nonetheless.
After WWII, everyone went home. But the Jews of Europe had no home to go to or did not want to return. So a Jewish state was needed. It's amazing that figures like David ben Gurion and the others buried on Mount Hertzel had this kind of thought and willpower to make this happen. In the US, we learn of comparable founding fathers like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton. It just never occurred to me before that Israel has the same type of figures. And, by extension, so must many other countries.
We listened to a recording of Ben Gurion reading the declaration aloud and leading everyone in the room in singing Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem. But it wasn't until today
, at Yad Vashem, that I quite realized how monumental that was. An exhibit in Yad Vashem had not only video footage of the same event in that room, but also footage of thousands and thousands of Jews standing outside, listening, then cheering, and then joining in a thunderous Hatikvah.
Bus 1002 - June 7
Posted by: Blog Committee on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 12:00:00 am | Comments (1)
Emotional rollercoaster. That's the only way to accurately describe our first, full day in Jerusalem.
We started the day with a moving lecture from the renowned Avraham Infeld. If only everyone could hear him speak...his articulation, humor, and passion for telling stories is mesmerizing. He is a person that seems to have infinite wisdom, but he is especially powerful when speaking about the complexities of Judaism.
His speech resonated with me because he spoke about my greatest insecurity about being Jewish -- that I don't know what that means. I'm Jewish in the same sense that I am Russian, German, and Polish. If asked, I would most identify as a cultural Jew -- someone who remembers the Jewish history and shares the same values as the small percentage of the world that is Jewish.
This identity crisis stems mostly from the fact that I was raised in a town where I was the only Jew in my high school. Like most Jews, I attended summer camp and was able to get my Jewish fix there. Camp is one of the top three most life-changing and memorable aspects of my life (Thanks Mom and Dad1).
Fast forward a few years to my college days...
My choice to go to Binghamton University had nothing to do with Judaism. In fact, I was unaware of the vibrant Jewish community at BU. However, as soon as I arrived, I realized there was something very special about the Jewish community and unity on campus. The most symbolic memory I have of this is wearing my volunteer shirt for Israeli Independence day and being part of the majority, instead of the minority, with the hundreds of other volunteers.
Last night, I felt this sense of unity again. Once a year, Birthright hosts a "Mega Event" that is a huge celebration of Birthright's progress, bringing together all trips that are in Jerusalem at the time. We were lucky enough to take part in this amazing event. Being there was like combining a lecture series, massive concert, rave, dance party, pride celebration, and more into one. Everyone there felt a connection to their Judaism and to each other that was euphoric.
The Mega Event showed me that, once again, I am part of something bigger than myself. The same is true for my Jewish identity crisis. A lot of Jews don't know what they mean when they say they're Jewish. People on this trip who were sure what their Judaic beliefs were prior to this trip are now in a state of confusion.
However, like Infeld said, confusion is good because it leads to questions, discussions, and hopefully, some answers. But, while this emotional rollercoaster is causing me so much introspection, I feel happy and privileged to be a part of a people and a culture that is complex. Normal is boring, and we Jews certainly are neither of the two.
So, my advice? Ask questions, be unsure, listen to those on the other side of the argument. Most importantly, be open to learning something new about yourself, something that makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself.
Bus 1002 - June 7 and 8
Posted by: Blog Committee on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 12:00:00 am | Comments (0)
Hi parents! Sorry this blog is a bit overdue, we've been busy as you can imagine so I haven't had a chance to breathe let alone blog. On the evening of June 6th, after a long fun-filled day, we had the pleasure of attending a private program in the hotel titled "Cinema as a Window into Daily Life: A Glimpse into Israeli Society through film" with a talented student at the Ma'aleh Film School here in Israel. He was from America which offered an instant connection to us. He now directs films and he shared two films with us, one that he directed and one that he really enjoys.
The first film that he showed us depicted a young boy growing up in Israel, about to make his Bar Mitzah. He is experiencing the normal turmoils that puberty brings and he feels so extremely shameful of his behavior, he tries to purify himself. He turns to the internet for answers and listens to a Rabbi that tells him he needs to block his thoughts and cleanse his mind. However, he cannot deal with this frustration and tries to castrate himself. The whole message of this film is that communication about seemingly 'taboo' topics need to be discussed between parents and children in order for emotions to be expressed and dealt with in a healthy manner.
The second film showed Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint and the challenges they encounter. The checkpoint is told by its chief that there is a red alert and a bomber may be coming through. Upon closing the checkpoint, a unregistered ambulance tries to come through to take a sick diabetic girl to the hospital. The moral dilema of listening to orders or helping a sick girl is shown and evokes emotions from the audience. Overall, we see the conflicts and challeneges young soilders are exosed to every day.
This was a great program and we all enjoyed it! Cinema and media are a passion of our donors, Joel and Marcy. They have been incredibly generous by giving us all the opportunity to come to Israel and have COUNTLESS amazing and beautiful experiences. We cannot thank you enough :)
Bus 1001- #1
Posted by: Allison Berkowitz, Jacey Gottlieb, Paige Garramone and Carly Dawkins on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 12:00:00 am | Comments (3)
Our Adventure in Israel: Alex C.
Beginning our day in Ceasareas was amazing. We explored the beautiful ancient ruins, and learning the history was fascinating. (Doron is extremely knowledgeable and engaging, I look forward to his informative talks and appreciate the passion with which he talks about history) Looking out over the gorgeous blue coast of the Mediterranean sea was breathtaking. From there we stopped for lunch and I tried my very first shwarma which was delicious! I like that my birthright experience has also included a mini food tour- thanks to Dylan the future chef- I think one of my favorite things about Israel is how natural everything is. Not only is the food always fresh and organic, but the people we have met live such a different and holistic lifestyle. I like that the people we met at the “salad tour” are so passionate about the innovative ways in which Israel has pioneered desert farming and agriculture. Everything was delicious; I have never had juicier tomatoes, sweeter strawberries, and smelled herbs quite as intoxicating and potent, as I did on the farm. This day was so enjoyable, even though we did not do as many activities as compared to some of the other jam packed days.
Last night we had our Bedouin encounter, and I do not think that I have ever experienced something quite as magical. We got to ride a camel! It was such an amazing feeling being on top of such a strange animal, and seeing the calm desert surrounding us. I rode my camel with Bar, one of the hayalim traveling with us for our mifgash, we had such a fun time! It was funny because she is afraid of heights and was nervous to ride; I assumed someone in IDF would not be afraid of something that seems so trivial to me. We also sang some songs that Bar knew from America; we had a great time. Dinner was a fun experience too. I have never sat on the floor sitting so closely to other people eating dinner and truly enjoying my time, it was a fun and intimate experience that I shared with my new friends on the trip. But my favorite part of our stay in the Bedouin tents was when we walked out to the desert at night. Sitting alone for the 15 minutes (that seemed like half an hour) felt so serene. I sat atop a small hill of rocks all alone, and I felt my surroundings in such a profound way. I was able to look up and notice all of the stars; I could even see a constellation, something I have never picked out before. When I was looking at the moon, it occurred to me that I have never sat outside at night at observed the moon, and for that matter any of my surroundings. It made me stop and think, that maybe I do move too fast, I am too worried about the future, and what I need to so for the future. The future is a daunting thing that as a college student, seems to be the biggest concern of everyone I know. This trip as a whole has opened my eyes to the fact that I cannot consume myself with worry, and that just doing stuff for fun to enjoy myself, and giving myself new experiences and opportunities is more important that trying to figure out “the next step” or “the right track”.
When we all came back together after our time of private self reflection, we sat in our two groups to begin a discussion. I had a feeling it would become very serious, and that many people would be timid to share their personal thoughts, which is completely fine. But after listening to what other people thought about when they were alone; whether it was their family, friends, goals, the meaning of our trip, or just cleared their mind, the overall emotion of the environment became very solemn. And when we began sharing personal stories of a moment when we all felt like we belonged to something
greater, or made a connection to a higher power, and knew in that moment that there was something else out there, I began to cry. Some of the stories were happy, but unfortunately many of them were sad, but that made sense to me. When we are happy we do not always pause to think about why we feel the way we do, or who is responsible for our happiness, but in times of tragedy or despair we look for help, solace, and guidance. I think this is why many people look for a G-d. It is a comforting feeling to believe that there is some sort of power watching over the people, and feel that everything happens for a reason.
Bus 1001- #2
Posted by: Allison Berkowitz, Jacey Gottlieb, Paige Garramone and Carly Dawkins on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 12:00:00 am | Comments (0)
We woke up early in the tents this morning to a rooster singing cock-a-doodle-doo. We got to see the sunrise. Sleeping on the floor of the desert on those so-called mattresses was a great experience but a one time thing. We don’t know how the Bedouins do it every night. Then we headed off to climb Masada to burn off the calories we gained from eating the Israeli nutella that we had for breakfast. When we got to the top, we learned about the history and had a naming ceremony for everyone who didn’t have a Hebrew name. One by one, everyone said their Hebrew name and then those of us who were getting a new one announced what it was. Then we all shouted the name and heard the echo back in the mountains, which Inbal explained is another way of how the desert speaks back to us. Joslyn’s new Hebrew name is Hadar Yael. She says, “The naming ceremony was a beautiful experience. It was lovely to share the significance of my new name with my peers and to shout it out into the mountains. The roaring echoes we heard in response made me feel as if the souls of the people that had died there were giving me their blessing, and I was as a result, one step closer of being more connected to my Jewish heritage.” After that, we took the snake path down and it felt like we were traveling in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. When we finally saw the gift shop, we thought that it was a mirage.
Just when we thought that we were going to die, we got on the bus to the dead sea. When we arrived, we went straight to the changing rooms and then jumped right into the sea. The water stung our cuts and burned our faces but was amazing! We floated with our heads comfortably above the water with absolutely no fear of drowning. It was incredibly relaxing. Inbal was nice enough to by us a whole round of mud, which we smothered our bodies in. It was mud from the Dead Sea, and made our skin incredibly soft! After a quick shower, we jumped back on the bus and headed to Ashkelon. We arrived at the hotel, and finally shaved after growing out leg hair for a few too many days. That’s where we are now, and we’ll update you tomorrow!
You know you love me,
Bus 1002 - June 5th
Posted by: Jacob Shamsian and Jillian Bucosky on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 12:00:00 am | Comments (1)
Guided tour through Zefat.
At the beginning of our tour through Zefat, we all took a break from walking to sit in a shade in a square. There we all shared something new and good that happened to us. People shared their thoughts, experiences, and feelings of the trip so far as well as other happy points of serendipity. Koren, our tour guide, told us that he had a pleasant breakfast with his five-year-old son this morning. Hallie Marks said that El-Al finally returned her luggage after losing it upon arrival to Israel. I mentioned that I found my phone after desperately searching for it last night.
Koren then gave us a primer on spirituality and the importance of taking in that which is around us. We also learned that Zefat was one of the major fortresses the Crusaders built in their time. The name "Zefat," Koren told us, is rooted in the word "Zafah," which in Hebrew means "to look for," one of the strategic benefits of the fortress-city's mountainside location. Unfortunately, strife is not new to Israel, and it's interesting to see that even centuries ago, military strategy had a role in defining what the land of Israel is today.
The Spanish Inquisition of 1492 caused many Jews to leave Spain. Zefat was one of the major cities they went to, and it is there that Kabbalah, a brand of Jewish mysticism, began. In this sense, Kabbalah is more associated with Sephardic Jewish tradition than Ashkenazi tradition. "Sephard," means "Spanish." When Jews fled Spain from the inquisition, they mostly went to the middle east, including Israel. My own family is from Iran and also follows Sephardic tradition. "Ashkenaz," however, means "Germany," and much (but not all) of Israel's Ashkenazi population originated from after the Holocaust.
We also learned more recent history of Zefat, including early British involvement of defending the city for the Jews and that Mahamous Abbas, "elected" leader of the Palestinian Authority, was born there. For me, that really brings into view the sheer complication of Israel as a Jewish state, and why it's so controversial on an international scale. So many different nations have had a presence here at some point or another in history, and make claim to it in different ways.
Kabbalah, we learned, began with Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. He was one of Rabbi Akivah's students, and hid in Mount Hebron for twelve years. According to legend, he and his followers were sustained for those years by G-d, who gave them a Carob tree to eat from and a nearby river to drink from. During those twelve years, they studied the Torah. At some point, the voice of Moses spoke from the back of the cave and revealed to them the secrets of the Torah. When they emerged from the cave, they became angry at many Jews for their perceived ignorance. Because of this anger, G-d sent them back to the cave for another twelve years, and it is at that period of time that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai wrote the Zohar, the basis of Kabbalistic knowledge.
Kabbalah, as Koren said, has a focus on the ability to accept, it is a way of life that guides in how to process that which is around us.
We passed through an alleyway and then a limestone plaza where we stopped and discussed the various Jewish affiliations (such as Sephardi and Ashkenazi mentioned above), and how their religious and occasionally social differences throughout history shaped the city of Zefat himself. Though Sephardi and Ashkenazi are the predominant subcultres in Judaism and the ones I knew about growing up, it was fascinating to learn that there were so many, and that many of them are connected to Zefat.
We also learned about the holiday of Shavuot and the notion that Israel is G-d's bride. It is at Sinai where the Jews received the Torah and became married to Hashem, and Shavuot is when we celebrate the anniversary of uniting with Him.
Many shuls cropped up in Zefat dedicated to prominent rabbis known for their Kabbalistic teachings. We visited one small but stunningly beautiful 400-year-old Ashkenzi shul dedicated to one of those Rabbis.
Afterwards, we went to a candle factory and shop with free bathrooms. Devorah, one of the candle artists there, gave us a demonstration on how candles are made, strings dipped in wax and dye and twisted into different shapes. She also showed us different kinds of Havdalah candles, used in the ceremony to end Shabbat. The number of wicks were for candles are based on Gematriah - the numerical meanings behind words.
Nearby, we had our lunch break in an artists' colony, where different talented and local artists sold everything from rugs to paintings to sculptures to handmade jewelry. Near that was a glassblowing shop...
Today we went to see a live glass blowing demonstration.
We walked through a gorgeous archway which thankfully offered some shade; it was framed with bright colored flowers and pomegranate trees. We entered a open aired shop adorned with colorful watercolor paintings and various pieces of hand crafted glass. I was relieved to sit down in the air-conditioning.
The artst presented herself promiently at the front of the room. She introduced herself as Sheva Chaya. I was surprised when she started talking because her American accent was flawless. Sheva Chaya talked to us about her past while simultaneously creating a shot glass. She told us how she was a native of Denver, Colorado and how she first came to Israel on a trip at age 17. She went to Princeton for Art history, yet never felt at home or happy there. She said that she went to Israel on a trip and decided then and there to make it her home. She chose to embrace Judiasm as a way of life.
Her American name was Darcy which means "dark" and coincidently her hebrew name translates to "light." Moving to Israel and becoming a full time artist was a big change with a lot of obstacles. She compared people to the glass she was blowing. She took two pieces of glass and held them above a searing flame in order to fuse the two shards into something unqiue and beautiful with an entirely new use. She said that there will be times where things will fall apart, but that is not the time to give up. It is easy to give up sometimes but it is worth it to start over, accept the challege, and think of how to move on from it.The glass will not be how it was before it broke but it will be something just as good if not better when you take the time to work on it.
Being that I just graduated college two weeks ago, I found her speech especially inspiring. It is easy to feel trapped in society's expectations of school, work, family, kids, repeat. It is easy to give up on finding a job or getting into grad school. But if you want to break the cookie cutter cycle then you have to make changes. It may get worse before it gets better but the outcome, the newly formed glass, may be worth the hastle. I cannot imagine leaving my friends, family, language, and culure for an entirely new life abroad but it is comforting and hopeful to know that it can be done and successfully so. She insipired me to work even harder when things get hard or rejections come in because the only way to get what you want is to keep working at it... keep the piece under the fire- maleable for change and refinement.
Sheva Chaya finished the shot glass by writing "l'chiam" on the front: to life. I will always remember Sheva Chaya ( the former Darcy) surrounded by her prized pieces of art, sunshine, and bright flowers. One day I hope to feel as at home and happy anywhere as this woman was in her little shop in Israel.
After the glass blowing demonstration we headed straight for the Jordan River for rafting and kayaking. I doused my unprepared, pale skin in spf 50 and was still mentally preparing myself for the inevitable burns. I was expecting an exciting, adrenaline inducing ride; rocky waters and white waves crashing around the raft. In reality, I was greeted with a calm river that lazed through a path of greenery. There were 5 of us in the raft and the first thing I experienced upon entering the water was a tree branch coming towards my face at an alarming rate. We all screamed and manvered the raft just in time. The raft kept tilting everywhich way but straight, and we bumped into the sides of the brush often for the first ten minutes of the ride. We laughed the whole time, of course, it was like aquatic bumper cars.
Soon, we were drifting along the gorgous green river alongside fellow friends from Birthright and new local friends we chatted with along the way. We encountered a raft that was stuck between a tree trunk and the riverbed and we helped them get back on path. Jacob even fell out of the boat at one point while trying to reach a piece of bamboo that would make a particularly awesome walking stick. He got back on with bamboo in hand, refreshed from the fall and his hat still on his head. I loved the warm air on my skin, the cool breeze in my mouth, the impromptu water fights...
It was then that I realized that even though this excursion was not what I expected, I had a lot of fun regardless and often found myself wanting to stop and savor certain moments. The point is to have no expectations, accept that the river is flowing, will keep on flowing regardless of whether you want to stop it or go back against the current. You are along for the ride and there is no such thing as one correct direction to face. You will fall off the boat or get lost but you can always get back on and choose to take a souvenir from the fall with you. We race ever forward but the journey is always over too soon.
Enough of this sentimental chutzpha... After the river rafting we had the choice between climbing a rockwall and going on a zipline. I chose the zipline. I am terrified of heights but enjoy confronting this fear any chance I get. We clibmed four ladders to get to the top of the zipline. One of the Israeli soldiers was in line behind me. He told me that he too was afraid of heights and that he was equally as scared and excited or "excared." We laughed uneasily and excitedly until it was my turn to jump off the ledge. I discovered that the suspense was more terrifying than the actual fall. Jump. The man with the ropes told me in a bored voice. come on, just jump. Push me, I said. You have to push me, once I'm falling I'll be happy. But I need the push. Before I could even comprehend what was happening, I was falling down, through the air, over the water, and then into it. It was exhilarting and mildly annoying becuse I lost both of my water shoes.
Bus 1002 - June 4th
Posted by: Sophie Rosenbaum and Hayley Shapiro on Monday, June 4, 2012 at 12:00:00 am | Comments (0)
As if we weren't tired enough from a 10-hour plane ride and the onset of jet leg, Bus 1002 had a jam-packed day of sight seeing, physical activity, and group bonding.
We left the kibbutz at 8:30 a.m.
sharp (Koren doesn't like us to be late), and started on our journey to an area that has a history of violence, and overlooked the current war-torn country of Syria. It was a paradoxical day in that we could see three countries at once (Israel, Syria, and Lebanon) just by standing on top of one peak, despite being so close to a country that is experiencing extreme political turmoil and genocide.
Our day was primarily focused on comparing the Middle East's history to its present state of affairs. Whether it was seeing sights like Mitzpeh Gadot, an abandoned Syrian military post, or discussing Israel's security atop an inactive volcano that is home to an Israeli city, we learned how to contextualize current events by actually standing right where historical, ground-breaking moments happened.
The last stop of our never-ending day was at the Tel Dan Nature Reserve, which is home to the largest fresh water in the Middle East and has more trees, plants, and species of animals than you can imagine. The weather was cooperating perfectly, so as we took a million group pictures and smelled the aromas of fresh bay/fig leaves, we were truly able to capture the beauty of Israel that everyone talks about.
Our day ended much like it started -- together, working as a group to solve problems and ask tough, open-ended questions. At the beginning of the day, we worked as a team to complete trust-building exercises through physical activities.
Even though we started the day as strangers from all walks of life, we ended the day feeling a sense of unity and community that did not exist 24 hours ago. It's crazy to think that we just ended our first full day and we already feel this familial sense. Besides meeting new friends from Binghamton University, we feel lucky to have the honor of sharing the entirety of this experience with 8 amazing Israeli soldiers. Although most Birthright trips only get to have this bonding experience with Israelis for a few days, we feel privileged to have them with us because we not only get to learn from each other, we get to make friends to come visit when we return in the future.
We can't wait for tomorrow's adventure that includes visiting the Jewish city of Safed, a glassblowing demonstration, and a white-water rafting/kayaking excursion that will likely imprint a lasting memory on all of our memories.
Stay tuned for more, and Shalom1