Did Kennedy study Kabbalah?
We made it to Israel! After an easy flight, we landed at Ben Gurion Airport on Wednesday evening. We met our Tour Guide, Sergey. He introduced us to our bus driver and our security guard/medic. We loaded up the bus and hit the road to Tiberias where we are staying at the Astoria hotel. After a great night of rest, we had a delicious breakfast at the hotel with Israeli cheeses, eggs, fresh fruits, and bourekas (potato and cheese puff pastries), YUM!
We all got on the bus and headed to the ancient mystical city of Tzfat. We learned some biblical history of the area on our way and enjoyed the view of the Golan. Upon arrival, we climbed up to the citadel where Sergey introduced the history of Kabbalah to us. We learned that the knowledge shared in the Zohar is so powerful. You initially had to be a man over 40 to even study some aspects of Kaballah! The group discussed the term “tikkun olam” which was taken from Kabbalah ideology. “Repair the world”, we all agreed, is a good rule of thumb to guide us. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. John F Kennedy’s famous words sounded a little like repairing the world, and we wonder if he may have secretly been studying Kabbalah too young for his own good!
We continued on our theme of learning about Kabbalah, which is Jewish mysticism. We visited a local Kabbalah artist originally from Denver, whose name was David Friedman. We talked about Kabbalah’s numerology, color theory, and even some Grateful Dead! We bought some beautiful art and headed to the Ascent hostel, which was founded by the Lubavitcher Rebbe! The rabbi there gave us an introduction to Tzfat, answered questions about orthodox Jewish life, and even sent us on a scavenger hunt which included free local tastings! We were sad to leave Tzfat, but happy to arrive at a local kibbutz for a visit. This kibbutz made fruit wines, which we were able to sample responsibly. We tasted wines made from strawberries, black currents, and dark chocolate! After that, we headed back to our hotel in Tiberias for dinner and a discussion on the religious diversity of Israel’s holy cities. Some participants hit the town to see the sights, and some visited the tomb of the Rambam (the philosopher, doctor, and rabbi Maimonides). We then got some rest for our next jam packed day of hiking the Banias and rafting in The Jordan River.
More to come from #Bus461, or as we call ourselves, the Zhuzhers (Yiddish slang for an immersion blender, don’t ask haha).
Shabbat Shalom, Kristeen and Chana