Wow, can you believe we are already halfway through our journey together?!?
Here’s the scoop on the last 48hrs!
We had our Israeli participants join the group (Yayy!), and what a joy that has been! We began our tour in Jerusalem in the Jewish quarter. Enjoyed a walking tour in the old city and learned a lot about the history of the wall and Jerusalem itself. Ventured to Davidson center and continued learning about the thousands of years of history. Such a privilege to be here! We then had the pleasure of visiting the Kotel (western wall) and were able to take time to explore and reflect. Most had powerful experiences that they shared – it was lovely and touching to hear.
After we enjoyed the morning, we went to the Mahane Yehuda marketplace to explore, get lunch, and enjoy time shopping and experiencing what it is like before Shabbat (super busy for the folks reading this blog at home).
We returned to the hotel to prepare for Shabbat. We enjoyed celebrating Kabbalah Shabbat with another birthright group that is here (#bus547- Maxi is their guide, an incredible man I have had the honor of staffing with before). We sang songs, had tasty food, and yes, indulged in the hotel’s wine they provided. After our festive Shabbat dinner, the group enjoyed spending time together in the hotel lobby connecting on a deeper level.
Saturday! It was time to break that fast with breakfast (most slept in, and that’s ok- it’s Shabbat!). Some folks went to optional Shabbat services in the synagogue. The group then went to the Israel museum followed by a walking tour. Then we had lunch followed by a pool party that was organized by one of our participants (thank you Josh!). After the pool, folks got to connect and chat regarding their experiences and connect on a deeper level. Many took this time to relax and recharge for later tonight. We then did some Shabbat programming that related to Jewish identity. We then had a political seminar by the terrific Iftach Burman with birthright group 547 (our groups are getting to know each other and are merging into one large group of 80- how cool!). This was followed by a Havdalah ceremony to signify the start of the new week. Singing, dancing, and laughter- what a special treat!
We had dinner at the hotel which was followed by preparation for Yad Vashem that we will experience tomorrow. It was out last night in Jerusalem so we tried to enjoy it to the fullest by sitting outside on the grass and throwing a frisbee, playing card games, and chatting.
Half way there yet there is so much more we will see and do- stay tuned friends 🙂
Hal, Jenny, and Serge