Tzfat a Great Day | Shorashim - Israel with Israelis
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Tzfat a Great Day

Annabel Kuhn

As one of the few who is not actually a Tufts student, my Birthright experience has been particularly unique. All my new friendships are paired with these new experiences and I am proud to be in the presence of such incredible people as these Tufts students.

The day began at 7:15 am when we met at the kibbutz dining hall for breakfast. I'm surprised that a typical Israeli breakfast involves salad! We boarded the bus at 8 am and by 9:30 we were descending down a rocky mountain ovelooking The Sea of Galilee. In the distance, we could see Tsfat at the top of a neighboring mountain. Tsach had us think about our earliest memory and to discuss it with the others throughout the hike. As a group we talked about the importance of sharing memories. On our mountain, we could see a 2,000 year old castle built into the mountain. We reached the bottom and learned that many Israelis hike their entire country. 

We ate lunch in Tsfat. The town could be characterized by the religious passers by, the delicious Israeli food, and images of the Lubavitch rabbi in every possible corner. We walked through what is considered the narrowest alley in the world. We then saw a synagogue which was unlike any I'd ever seen. The decorations were ornate and beautiful. Possibly the most interesting difference was that the bima was in the center of the synagogue. 

We had some time to shop, some of us went to a special candle shop and others went through an alley filled with jewelry shops. I bought a special red bracelet with a gold hamsa for my mom that's supposed to ward off evil spirits. We met up at the end of the alley where a man was selling fresh squeezed juices. I had pomegranate juice which was so sweet and refreshing.

Then, we were on our way to a glass blowing demonstration. The path to the building was tiled with random scraps of different colored glass, and all around us were beautiful glass blown objects. We entered the building and we were greeted by the artist. She grew up in Colorado and studied art at Princeton. She visited Israel for the first time when she was seventeen and fell in love with the country and moved to Tsfat after she graduated college. She told us she was going to turn on a bright flame to begin the glass blowing and to not look directly at it. I was amazed as she spoke of beautiful metaphors all while making an intricate glass blown cup. My favorite thing she said was how so many people have fought for Israel and how we all should realize how lucky we are to just be in Tsfat, just watching a glass blowing demomstration. 

We got back onto the bus and we were on our way to a hot spring. I had never been to one before and I guess I was expecting a natural spring. The hot spring was basically like an enormous, hot, sulfur-filled swimmimg pool. I think I read that it was 42 degrees Celsius. I had a lot of fun playing games in the pool with my friends. We were probably the only non-Israeli people there. Younger kids were staring at us, and one approached me with a shy but friendly shalom and asked me where we were from before he quickly swam back to his own friends. 

The 40 minute bus ride back to the Kibbutz was quiet because everyone was exhausted after such a busy day. We ate dinner and chatted as a group about our day, and most of us were asleep by 9 pm. I went to bed with a smile on my face, thinking about all the wonderful new activities, ideas and people that I had encountered and looking forward to the rest of my time here.

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