Israel Journey #5C – Shalom From the South!

Happy Tuesday from the northern Negev desert! This morning we started our day with a tour of Kibbutz Yahel, the first Kibbutz established by the Reform movement located in the Arava Valley. We got to visit the kibbutz cow milking operation and date trees.

Next, we spent two hours driving to the southern Dead Sea, where the teens had the chance to float in the salty water and experience the lowest point on earth. It was a very relaxing experience, spa-like almost!

We ended our day riding camels and learning about the culture and customs of the Negev Bedouin at Kfar HaNokdim. We learned that this Muslim Arab minority numbers over 100,000 people in Israel. Our speaker was a Bedouin woman who was one of the first women in her community to go to university and work outside her home while simultaneously raising ten children. It was inspiring to learn about how traditional communal attitudes towards girls and women are slowly changing, with educational and economic opportunities growing.

After our camel ride, we all gathered for a traditional Bedouin feast. The food was delicious and it was so amazing to be able to learn about our cultural differences and similarities.

Finally, we finished the night with a bonfire under the stars. It was truly such a beautiful sight. Tonight we are staying in Bedouin-style tents at Kfar HaNokdim!

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