Update from Italy! Bus B

We’re writing to you live from Slovenia, but first have so much to share about our stay in Venezia. Filled with amazing canal views, peaceful gondola rides, and connecting with Venice’s Jewish history, our visit to Venice can easily be described as a special one.

We had the opportunity to learn about the Jewish “gheto” in Venice, and spent time visiting the Jewish museum. We stepped into old synagogues on our tour while our guides shared the history of Jews in Venice. Then, we traveled by boat to Murano Island where we were pretty amazed as we watched the creation of a glass vase at the factory. Afterwards, we spent a few hours at Lido Beach. It was sunny and hot but don’t worry, we wore our SPF!

During our first Shabbat, we joined Venetian Jews at the Spanish synagogue for a service where men sat on one side and women on the other. The Rabbi stood above for everyone to see, and an eleven year old boy helped to lead! It was really cool to recognize parts of a Shabbat service while being so far away from home.

On Saturday morning, we slept in for Shabbat and then attended a program of our choice. Some of us engaged in meaningful discussions, while others did yoga and/or meditation programs. It was an opportunity to disconnect with technology and connect with ourselves and each other.

After lunch, we worked our way through crowded streets to see St. Mark’s Square before entering the incredible Doge’s Palace. There were many photo-ops and we captured Venice’s beauty! We sang happy birthday to Ashley in the square before going to dinner. The beautiful sunset on Saturday was a perfect way to end the evening before returning to our hotels for Havdalah. We said goodbye to Shabbat under the stars, with arms around each other. One group was joined by an Italian man who works at the US embassy and happened to be passing by the group with his family. He and his family joined the circle, which was an amazing demonstration of the connection between Jews and the Venetian community which we learned about when we visited the museum on Friday.

Earlier today, we made our way to Slovenia. We are in awe of the mountain views and this country’s natural beauty. White water rafting was a lot of fun and offered an opportunity to bond and work together. The water of the Soca River was crystal clear, cold, and refreshing (many of us tasted it). This was a trip highlight and we are already enjoying our time in nature!

Stay tuned for more from bus 1B!

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