Planting Trees in Israel
Our eighth day in Israel began with a visit to Neot Kadumim Park, a biblical forest just outside of Jerusalem. The site is maintained by JNF, and we all had the opportunity to plant saplings, thus helping replenish the area. Israel is the only country in the world with a rising number of trees and our efforts today contributed to that positive statistic, which was very cool.
We also completed the Sataf hike, our final trek of the trip. Before we climbed down the mountain, we picked fresh carob off a tree and sampled it, discussing the Israeli trail marker system. As we hiked, we took in views of the picturesque landscape, learned about the vegetation on the mountain, and even played a lively game of Yes, No, Black, White.
Jerusalem’s first train station, established in 1892, is no longer a transportation depot – today, it is home to shops, restaurants and a carnival-like play area for children. On Fridays, it is also the site of a farmer’s market. The vibrant scene, complete with live music, was the perfect place for us to relax after a busy morning, have lunch, purchase souvenirs, and stock up on snacks for the remainder of our Israel adventure.
Upon returning to our hotel in the city, we participated in an activity called Agree or Disagree. This allowed us to express thoughts and ideas related to our interactions with Israel, its people, and the Jewish religion, and was extremely useful in helping us process experiences from the past week. Afterwards, we all enjoyed a short break, then reunited for a participant-led Kabbalat Shabbat service, dinner, and an Oneg during which we played a dance game and shared Israeli snacks.