Dear Friends and Family,
It’s Eli and Ilana – we wanted to send you a second update about our trip.
We are writing to you from the beautiful resort town of Eilat, after quite the day. We woke up early enough to catch the sunrise on top of Mount Masada. We then descended into the valley (Arava) and took a fresh water hike upstream at the Ein Bokek Valley, and went even further down to the lowest place on earth and took a float in the Dead Sea.
To catch you up on some of the highlights of this past week: On a spiritual front, we spent a lovely afternoon in the hills of the ancient holy city of Tzfat exploring Jewish mysticism and the Kabbalah, and some of us even took a plunge in the mikvah, otherwise known as a ritual bath. We then spent the night really bonding with the 8 amazingly special Israelis (“Mifgash”) who joined our trip.
The next day was a really tough one, but that was the point. The first stop of the day was at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, Yad Vashem, followed by Har Herzl, the National Military Memorial and Cemetery. It was an interesting contrast to see those who suffered before and the steps we take now to never let such horror happen to the Jewish people again. Can’t say we had much “fun” that day, but we don’t think anyone would change it.
Ahhhhhh Shabbat. Friday came and we ventured even further back into our history, going to the Old City of Jerusalem, exploring the First and Second Temple periods and various other archaeological sites. For almost everyone in our group, this was the first time at the Kotel, or the Western Wall. For some, this was very powerful. It’s hard to explain the feelings, but they’re there. We then returned to the hotel and welcomed in the Sabbath by lighting the candles all together. We enjoyed a festive meal together filled with good challah bread, grape juice and an oneg party. Everyone was relieved to take a breather and have more of a relaxed day for the Sabbath.
That about sums it up. Some people say that today was the best day yet, but we have a feeling that they might like tomorrow even more – a morning hike followed by snorkeling in the coral reefs of the Red Sea, then camel rides and a night in a Bedouin tent village in the south of Israel.
Signing off until next time,
Eli and Ilana