Discovering Israel | Shorashim - Israel with Israelis
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Discovering Israel

Bethanie Royalty Lindman; Simmons College

The bus ascends the mountain of Arbel and our stomachs swirl with excitement and motion sickness. The first breath of fresh air off the bus fills our minds with oxygen, ready to learn. We learn of the first elevator and of the ancient Romans that used it to nimbly descend the mountain to destroy enemies. We follow their path by foot. The earth slides beneath our feet and we grapple to gain our balance and agility. The rocks tower over us, reminding us that we are neither the first nor the last to make our mark on these giant land masses. We discuss our history while our fingers feel the roughness of the stones that surround us. Afterwards, we follow this stone into the ancient holy city of Tzfat. We are welcomed by the locals, who inquire where we are from. Where are we from?

We are lucky enough to listen to a concert in Livnot, with music that turns religion into melody. Close by, an American man, Avraham, teaches us about his discovery of Judaism and Kaballah. We all connect with the challenge of finding our religion, beliefs, passions, and love. We are all in some way in this process now as we travel through Israel. We end the day in the hot springs, feeling truly like one of the locals. In the warm water we relax, sharing stories that make us laugh. Returning to our home away from home away from home, the Kibbutz Afik, we reflect on the day and how we feel so far. Exhausted, overwhelmed, grateful, intrigued, enlightened, excited. It is only day three and yet the plane ride seems to long ago.

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