Israel Journey 4C – Update #2

Hi Friends and Families!

Please enjoy these updates from teens on our trip!

Day 7–
After another early rise and breakfast, we departed for Tzfat, an artist colony. Once arrived we visited a couple of synagogues, one Ashkenazic and one Sephardic. We discussed the similarities and differences between the two. We then went on to visit a candle/wax figure shop, where the owner gave us a quick explanation of how they make and decorate the many types of candles they sell. From there, we moved to Avraham Loewenthal’s shop. He is an artist originally from Michigan who moved to Israel twenty years ago to follow his passion for kabalah and the concepts it holds. He provided us with a brief explanation of kabalah, informing us that it is the more mystical side of Judaism which deals more with spiritual concepts. After learning about kabalah and Abraham’s different artwork, we had some free time to have lunch and shop in Tzfat. After everyone had satiated both their actual hunger and that for shopping, we climbed back on the bus to head to a the Jordan river for a raft ride. Each raft held 4-5 people, allowing for a wide variety of experiences. While some floated down the river, rowing forward with ease, others struggled to face forward and even faced a welcoming splash from families cooling off on the river bank. At the end of the trip, we found ourselves at a ropes course with a rock wall, zip line, and even archery! Everyone enjoyed themselves with their respectively chosen activities before we headed to dinner. For dinner, we had fresh cooked pizza with a wide variety of toppings to choose from. After a delicious meal which appealed very much to American tastebuds, we headed back to Kibbutz Malkia to pack and go to sleep.

Day 8–
After breakfast, we loaded the bus with all our suitcases and headed to the Baha’i Garden in Haifa. Once there, our tour guide Michael showed us the beauty of the garden and gave us some history on the Baha’i religion and how it came to be. The garden was breathtakingly beautiful and perfectly kept, allowing us to take great pictures of it and each other! Once our tour ended, we hopped back on the bus and headed to lunch which was being graciously served by a Drews community in Haifa. Once again, we learned of the different aspects of their lives and religion, and were especially fascinated by their belief in reincarnation and how it works. After the delicious lunch we headed to Atlit, making a quick stop at the Haifa Mount Karmiel fire memorial on our way. Once we got to Atlit, we learned the story of Jews who tried to immigrate to Israel as they ran from the Holocaust. We learned about many boats of immigrating Jews, including the most famous called the Exodus, and of the harsh conditions they faced and fought through. After soaking in the information, we headed to the beach to learn to surf. Once at the beach, we had to hurry to get in swimsuits and grab surfboards so that we could spend as much time in the water as possible. The instructors were very patient and helpful and quite a few of us even managed to stand up and really surf (even if only for a few seconds). After tiring ourselves out with surfing, we changed for a beachside cookout. After the delicious food and beautiful view, we headed to Kibbutz Ayalon, our home for two nights. Before bed, we all gathered outside in a circle and discussed our thoughts on the day, especially what we learned about Jewish immigrants and we drew comparisons and contrasts to immigrants and refugees in the US today.

“I kind of learned how to surf” – Casey from day 8

It was very important that we went to the camp because it feels like that’s a part of history that we glossed over in school“ – Zach from day 8

“[The camp] reminded me of what’s happening in the States right now with the families being separated.” – Zach from day 8

Day 9–
After a kibbutz breakfast identical to our previous one, we headed first to Pitchon Lev in Karmiel to do volunteer work. We helped sort food and clothing for the less fortunate and helped organize the Pitchon Lev storefront. We then headed to an Arab-Israeli school for a co-existence talk with Arab-Israeli teens. While some of our new friends were more confident in English than others, we still managed to get along and enjoy each other’s company for a couple of hours as we sat and talked and ate lunch. After taking pictures and sharing social media, we got back on the bus to go to a market in Akko. After buying snacks (and of course lots of nice souvenirs for our favorite family members) we headed to Rosh Hanikrah to explore the ocean caves. The limestone caves were shaped by the rain and waves over years and years and were absolutely GORGEOUS!! Everyone took lots of photos and soaked in the beauty before heading back to the bus to return to our kibbutz.

“It was an amazing experience because I got to hear a different perspective from the other side of the war” – Lily from day 9
More updates soon!

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