Day One of the Bus 145 Experience | Shorashim - Israel with Israelis

Day One of the Bus 145 Experience

Last night the 47 of us met as strangers in Tel Aviv; and yet, by Shabbat this evening (August 19) we have begun friendships surpassing our initial nervousness. Our long journey to Kibbutz Afik in the Golan Heights began was punctuated by jokes and trivia games conducted by our staff members: Linor, Hannah, and Iftak. Although we were road weary, we sat down for a tasty dinner and brief orientation before sleep.

Early this morning we ate breakfast together and took the bus to the Jigaboon hiking trail where we scrambled over rocks and lent a hand to one another to cross the many streams we encountered. Our goal: the Devora waterfall and pool was worth the wait. It was delectably refreshing to dive into the icy water and splash around under the waterfall. Israeli families and groups of friends were also at the pool and swam around us inquiring where we were from and wishing us a good visit to Israel. Iftak called us out of the water for at least ten minutes before we got out. Then we all trekked back up the steep trail to our bus.

The trip from the trail to a nearby food court and mall was narrated by Iftak who detailed the history of the ’67 war and the ’73 war with Syria. It was an eye-opener to hear about the wars in such detail and from the Israeli perspective. When we got to the food court, we were greeted by promises of the best falafel in the world by an especially enthusiastic Israeli from the food court. Some of us opted for his falafel place while others sampled the shawarma. Afterwards we explored the grocery store next door to pick up snacks for our oneg to celebrate Shabbat, then it was back to the bus.

Our last stop was Mount Hermon where we overlooked the border with Syria and heard more about the war of ’73 from Iftak. We also went inside a bunker that soldiers fought from during that time. Finally we retired to the kibbutz to prepare for a lovely first Shabbat together. No doubt we’ll have more team building games like the human knot and impromptu massage circles as we grow closer and see more of this gorgeous country. Written by Misha Karbelnig and Jenn Sinrich