Bus 217 rang in 2016 with a dance party at the Masada guest house, complete with Zumba dancing, Bieber jams and some of our favorite local tunes. After a few short hours of shuteye, we woke up to cake and coffee and made our way to the foot of Masada.
Quote of the day: "Every tomato I've had here is the best tomato I've ever had."
We learned and participated in the Bedouin hospitality where they fed us, gave us tea, and invited us into their community. They started a secret buddy event for our group where we each have one person as our secret buddy and give them something special throughout the rest of our trip. We slept in the tents that night, which was fun!
After touring the independence museum we left to go to a market in Tel Aviv. There was some impressive original art and interesting scents filled the air. I was able to buy a beautiful menorah for my parents (hi mom!) and had my first semi-successful experience trying to bargain for a fair price.From the market we left for a walking tour of the very historical Jaffa by our amazingly informed tour guide, Omer. Jaffa was a beautiful coastal port and had significance to many cultures and societies throughout history. To any one reading this blog planning on traveling to Jaffa, do yourself a favor and go to Dr. Shakshuka for lunch.
The art galleries, shuk, and shashuka were amazing! What really capped off the entire day was meeting with Avraham Lowenthal, a Kabbalist from the U.S. I found such wisdom and passion within his artwork and voice as he spoke of the spiritual side of Judaism and the infinite goodness he experiences within his practice. I became super inspired to study and hope to meet him in the future for more spiritual insight and teachings. Walking out with my cup overflowing, we all caught the sun leaving the sky over the mountain side-beautiful and wow worthy. #Gratitude
As the sun set on our first Shabbat, we performed a short Havdalah service and had dinner at our dining hall. We finished up the night by playing a few ice breaker games as a group. It's taken awhile, but I think we're all finally starting to learn everyone's names! We all had a great time on the Kibbutz, but we're all excited to head out on the bus tomorrow morning for some hiking and to see Tzfat.
I am happy I was able to have a brief taste of the true Israeli life and set the context for the incredible cultural journey. am happy I was able to have a brief taste of the true Israeli life and set the context for the incredible cultural journey.
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*