Trek Israel: Update #7

Hello from Jerusalem!

We can’t believe this part of our trip is coming to a close! Half of our teens are staying for the “Plus” week but that still means half of us will be leaving on Sunday and we’re all really in disbelief that this experience has gone by so quickly!

We are definitely making the most of our time though! Wednesday morning we woke up very early in the Bedouin tents in order to hike up Masada in time for sunrise. After all of the hiking we have been doing the past few weeks, the hike up was a piece of cake. Plus, the view from the top was absolutely breathtaking! Meir, our awesome Israeli guide, taught us about the Jewish rebellion against the Romans that took place on Masada years ago. After hiking down, we refreshed with a big breakfast (as it was only 8 am) and drove to Ein Gedi Nature Reserve where we spent an hour walking through beautiful trails and cooling off in the waterfalls along the way.

Next, we spent time eating lunch and doing some souvenir shopping on Ben Yehuda street! After so much movement the last few days and waking up very early that morning, we were all happy to get to our hotel and spend the rest of our afternoon relaxing, napping, and swimming in the hotel pool.

That evening, an awesome speaker came to the hotel to talk with our group about pluralism in Israel. Some of the teens were nervous it might be a bit boring but the speaker did an impressive job keeping everyone interested and challenging us with difficult questions about Israel and the ways we can continue to improve this state.

Thursday was a busy and great day!! We spent the morning at this amazing organization called Yad Ezra V’shulamit; we volunteered and learned about how they deliver food across the country to thousands of families in need each week. Next, we were able to tour the Knesset, Israel’s legislative branch. We learned about how Israel’s democracy works, often comparing and contrasting it to our system in the US.

After a delicious pizza party in a park near the Knesset, we headed to Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial for the victims of the Holocaust, for a guided tour. Whether our participants had been to Yad Vashem before or not, the experience was a powerful one that everyone processed differently. After our tour, we spent time talking in small groups, sharing what we felt, what we learned, and how we can take what we learned from the Holocaust to never allow even a fraction of this to happen to anyone in the future.

Then, yesterday evening was the annual BBYO B’Yachad event where every BBYO Israel trip came together for a big carnival-style event. While it was tough going from something so emotional and difficult to a big celebration, we tried to think about it as a way to celebrate that Jews have survived and thrived and now we are incredibly grateful to be able to be surrounded by hundreds of other Jewish teens from around the world in a Jewish state!

The event included a big buffet dinner, a dance party with a DJ, speeches, teen performances, bounce houses, bumper cars, henna tattoo artists, many giveaways, and a lot more. Plus, the sunset from this spot was especially beautiful!

We all had such a fun night, getting temporary tattoos, going on the mini roller coaster, and dancing around together with lots of glow sticks. The only way the night could get better would be for us to win the coveted social media contest. The contest was to see which trip could get the most likes on one of their photos and the prize was 1000 shekels towards a group prize of our choosing! We have a lot of pride in being the only BBYO Trek trip so we were determined to win. And we did!!!!!

Needless to say, we had an amazing night and this trip has been so much more than we could have even imagined. We are all sad this trip, with this whole group, is coming to a close but we are excited to make the most of our next few days together in this beautiful country!

If you have any inquiries or concerns about your teen’s flight home, whether it be on Sunday or the following week, please feel free to call or email the BBYO office!

Sincerely,
Emily, Nina, and Koby

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