Israel Journey #1: A Trip Up North

Shalom Friends and Family,

We just wrapped up our first week in Israel, and couldn’t be more excited about what the next two weeks have to offer!

Yesterday we started our day bright and early driving to Tzfat, the city of Jewish Mysticism – Kabbalah. We started by meeting the one and only Avraham Loewenthal, a Kabbalistic artist from the US who made Aliya about 20 years ago and derives his art from Kabbalistic thought. He spoke a lot about Kabbalah, what it means, how it is studied, and what exactly it is the study of. If you want to learn a bit about it yourself, here is a nice source.Maybe you can ask your child something!

We walked in the scorching heat through the narrow roads of the old city, seeing not only how people used to live, but how they live to this day. We climbed all the way to the top of the mountain that Tzfat sits on, and saw a war memorial form the War of Independence, and at lunch in the park beside it. That afternoon, on our way to the river rafting on the Jordan River, one of our staff members, who was a Lone Soldier in the IDF, brought us to his host-mom’s ice-cream (gelato) shop in Rosh Pina, and we had a nice little surprise addition to the itinerary. While it was a nice cool-off for the day, nothing beats jumping in the Jordan River. This was by far the highlight of the day. Everyone was awaiting the chance to jump in the water and cool off. We rafted for about an hour and enjoyed a ropes course/climbing wall/zipline thereafter.

We made it back just in time that night for the kids to rest their eyes and get a good night’s sleep before our early morning the next day and departure from the Golan Heights. Finally, after jumping elevations multiple times a day, we made it to Sea Level. Stopping in Karmiel for some volunteer work, and an Arab village, Nahf, to learn about Israeli Arabs and speak with students, we made our way to the Mediterranean coast. Just as any good tour, we started at the beginning, and unless we were allowed to go to Lebanon, you can’t get much more of a beginning than Rosh Hanikra, the most northern tip of Israel’s coastline. We walked through the tunnels of the old train from Tel Aviv to Beirut and learned about the special grottos in the chalk mountain.After an incredibly meaningful and interesting conversation on the history of Lebanon and Israel’s presence there, we continued down the coastline to Akko where we are staying for the next few nights.

Akko is an incredibly diverse city in Israel, one of the few that is mixed between Arabs and Jews. After dinner we took a group of eager explorers through the allies and market streets of Akko’s old city to see the sunset at the old port, seeing the diversity within the city was an incredible experience for the kids.

Now everyone is tucked in and (hopefully) sleeping so that they have enough energy for the much anticipated surfing lessons tomorrow!

All the best from the Holy Land,

Your Israel Journey #1Staff, Andrea, Benjamin, and Zoe. 

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