Israel Journey #1: A Perspective Outside Our Own

We are now officially a full week into our trip and we’re having the best time! On day eight, we started off with a gorgeous hike, which ran along the serene Nahal Jilaboun canyon, located in the Golan Heights. 

Even though it was super hot out while we hiked, it was worth the heat because of the breathtaking view. Arriving at the beautiful lookout was extremely satisfying and made the whole experience worthwhile. 

Participant, Ollie, said how, “[he] is very proud of the way the group pushed through adversity.” So, despite all the challenges that were presented during the hike, we were able to motivate one another, keep each other’s heads up, and ultimately persevere until the end. Overall, it was a great bonding experience that we will remember for years to come!

Next, we continued our journey in the Golan region and went on a Jeep tour that took us along the Syrian border. “This was a really amazing way to learn about Syrian culture and geopolitics,” explained participants Ayla and Ruby. 

Finally, we ended the day with a traditional meal provided by the Druze in the Golan village, Ein Kinya. The Druze are a religious group who make up a minority of the ethnic population in Israel. Being able to step foot into the life of the Druze was a very eye-opening and special experience for all of us. After an exhausting, yet incredible day, we spent the night in Galilee.  

In addition to day eight, day nine was also a very informative, fun day. In the morning, we got the opportunity to have open dialogue with a group of Arab-Israeli teens. The conversations were overall very productive, respectful, and enjoyable. It was a wonderful experience to be able to have our teens connect to peers their age who grew up in an entirely different culture and area of the world. We greatly appreciate the Galilee Foundation, who facilitated our conversations. 

We continued on the day at the Mavrhatey Center where we learned about and celebrated the unique culture of Ethiopian Jewry. We participated in a traditional Buna coffee ceremony, and then made our own Ethiopian-style lunch. 

Following lunch, we drove to Rosh Hanikrah, located on Israel’s far north border, where we ventured into some amazing ocean, limestone caves.

After a cool break from the sun in the caves, we continued our journey to one of the most diverse towns in Israel, Acco Seaport. We were able to explore all of Acco, but the best part was the tour of the Templar Tunnels. This was a really cool experience because these tunnels are centuries old, dating back to the Crusader times. 

We ended the day with a delicious dinner at the Youth Hostel. We were able to eat among a group of Arab-Israeli teenagers. 

We are all looking forward to spending the night in Haifa after another long, incredible day filled with educational, cultural, and spiritual experiences. 

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