We could not be experiencing Israel more authentically. We have enjoyed the pinnacle of each city we have been in. We went from a night celebrating our youth, energy, and 2016 in Tel Aviv to observing Shabbat in the cradle of holiness, Jerusalem.
We visited the old city and saw many historical sites. We saw the orthodox praying and dancing in King David's Tomb and stuck notes in the Western Wall where some people also wrapped tefillin.
The night was a blast! We celebrated through the night with dancing and good conversation. Only after being in Israel for a few days, us Americans and Israelis had become great friends. To think that this is only the first third day of the trip!
We drove to Tzfat, a historic Northern city that is known for being the center of Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism. The city itself feels magical, in a way, ancient and timeless all at once. Bright blue accents lined fences, doorways, walls, everywhere you look; we learned that blue is a special color for the Kabbalah. After getting lunch - the shawarma here is absolutely incredible - we went to learn a bit about Kabbalah from a local artist named Abram. (Actually, his real name is Robert and he is from Michigan!) Hearing his perspective on this lesser-known side of Judaism was definitely an eye-opening experience, regardless of how one feels about spirituality and mysticism. He was extremely passionate.
We were greeted with open arms and big smiles by our new Israeli friends, and we even learned a new song in the middle of the airport! We're only in the middle of our first day, but I know that the following 10 days hold some of the best experiences that I'll have.
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*