Israel Journey #1- Planting the Seeds of an Experience

Shalom Friends and Family, 

We are so excited to be in Israel! Today we started bright and early with a tour of a biblical nature reserve: Naot Kedumim. We learned about the 7 species of biblical plants in Israel. Our guides for the day, Ily and Joanna lead us through a series of leadership and teamwork exercises, including herding goats/sheep, and a ropes challenge. Each group bonded tremendously and learned crucial lessons of teamwork and friendship. It was an incredibly helpful activity for day 1. 

Our last activity at Nair Kedumim was planting trees. This was possibly the most meaningful program of the morning. Some teens planted trees in honor of lost ones, or family members back home. Fun fact: Israel is the only country that has increased its nationwide number of trees in the past 50 years. 

Next, we drove back to Jerusalem and had a Shehecheyanu ceremony on the Mt. Scopus lookout of the old city by Hebrew University. Immediately following we went to the City Of David, or ancient Jerusalem, just below the current old city. We learned about the first temple period, most importantly, their water supply. We then walked through Hezekiah’s tunnel, the aqueduct built to funnel fresh water from a spring just outside the walls into the city to secure water in case of a siege. 

After returning to the hotel, we had a wonderful reflection program where everyone was asked to think of one thing they liked about today, one thing they did outside their comfort zone, and one question they had from today. Our teens had tons of incredibly insightful questions, including many that will be answered throughout the duration of our trip.  We are looking forward to our first Shabbat tomorrow evening!

An early Shabbat Shalom from Israel Journey 1! 

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