Ten days ago we were strangers, acquaintances, or small groups of friends at best. After what was without a doubt, the most impactful 10 consecutive days of our lives, we are proud to call each other a family. We are bound together by our common experience, our journey through Israel, that has led us to an appreciation of this country where none of us live. We expected to learn and experience but we didn't expect to connect the way we did.
Today has been the longest and most fulfilling day of the trip! While we're sad it's almost over, we also appreciate all of the amazing experiences, sights, conversations, and moments we have spent together over these last nine days. Here's to making day ten one of the best!
Today was the most extreme emotional rollercoaster most of us had ever been on. We arrived at Yad Vashem knowing to expect a challenging yet meaningful day but nobody could've anticipated the number of lows and highs throughout. Everything from the design of the building to layout of the exhibits was done with symbolic intention and added layers to the experience.
After this was the moment a lot of us were waiting for, camel riding!! It was a good thing we had all found out camel buddies beforehand, because we quickly met up with them and ran to our desired camel. This was so much fun and made for an awesome picture taking time (so many selfies with camels)!
Overall, Shabbat was a much needed relaxing day for us. We got a chance to connect on a more personal level with one another as well as discuss some very interesting topics. We hope you all had a refreshing Shabbat as well!
We walked to the largest shuk, or open market, in Tel Aviv, Shuk H'Carmel and it was incredible! There were merchants shouting out their prices and boasting the superiority of their products. We were offered "special" prices everywhere we went because we were on Birthright but our Israeli friends and our staff made sure we were getting the best deals possible!
Tzfat, where we could literally see the history and feel the deep cultural roots within the city. We were able to sit in a 400 year old synagogue and recite both L'cha Dodi and the Shema together as a group. We then went to listen to Avraham Lowenthal, an artist that lives in Tzfat who moved from the United States in his 20s to learn more about his Jewish history and the Kabbalah.
The next stop involved something we can all relate to: Food. This wasn't our standard lunch. Instead we enjoyed delicious Israeli dishes such as falafel and schwarma. For many of us, the was the first time having these classic meals, and there were nothing but smiles when we finished up!
We walked out of the terminal and into the arms of our fellow Israeli participants and staff, who were singing and dancing in celebration of our arrival. Our 41 quickly became 48!
Get ready for an amazing adventure! #Birthright #Shorashim
*All pictures are either from your staff’s first trip to Israel, in general or as a staff person, or one of their favorite places*