Wow what an amazing day with Israel Outdoors Bus 620 in Tzfat!
We started the day by getting clearance from our COVID tests to start the day! Well, all of us except for 2 who unfortunately had to stay in Tel Aviv today with Yosh, our madrich (counselor) while they did another serological covid test because the results from when we landed were inconclusive. The rest of the group enjoyed breakfast then icebreakers, a grape juice toast to commemorate the start of our trip, followed by submitting some expectations and hopes for our trip in a bottle, with Nilou making sure we didn’t forget to photograph any amazing moments along the way.
We finally set out and arrived at Mt Biriya overlook where we could see Lebanon and discussed the 1st and 2nd Lebanon wars.
Next we arrived in Tzfat, had a chat and some Israelis approached us so we figured we’d let them join our trip! Then we ate lunch and tried some falafel, shawarma, and iced coffee—Israeli style. We went to the art gallery of Avraham Loewenthal who gave us a taste of what Jewish mysticism is about. Afterwards we came to an outlook of Mount Meron where Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is buried. The Jewish celebration and bonfire holiday Lag B’Omer is all about him. There we met with a man from an organization called Ascent and he “a sent” us in groups of four on a self-guided landmark hunt through Tzfat where we got the chance to purchase art, see the sights of Tzfat including an old Mikva, and of course had some opportunities to take group photos at key spots. Exhausted from a full day, we got in the bus, created a WhatsApp group to share messages and pictures and headed to the hotel for an amazing dinner. After dinner our missing group members joined us so our group was finally complete! We played some silly, but surprisingly fun games and reflected on our connections to our home country, our Jewish heritage, and Israel. After some good rest, we are excited for tomorrow when we take on hiking, Jordan River rafting, learning about Israel’s relations with Syria and more! 24 hours ago when we arrived here seems like weeks ago already and we can’t wait to soak in more of this amazing experience!