Below is an update from the group, written by participant Jewel M:
Day 1- Arriving in Israel
We met two of our group leaders Eviatar and Becca at JFK airport. We all made it through tight security safe and sound, and after the long 10 hour flight we arrived in Israel at 5 pm on Sunday.
We picked up our luggage in Israel and were introduced to the eight Israelis who will join us for the duration of our trip along with our Israeli tour guide, Shai, and our third staff member, Brittany! They were all very lively and helped wake us up after the flight. The bus ride gave us another opportunity to talk with one another. We arrived at our hotel, did some program introduction, and went over what would be happening the next day. We got assigned rooms and I personally, slept like a baby.
Our wake up time was 7 am and it was surprisingly easy to get up! Breakfast at the hotel was much more diverse than your typical continental breakfast and prepared us for the big day ahead. We climbed Masada and learned about King Herold and his violent ways. The weather was sunny and warm. We descended Masada and went on another small hike to a beautiful waterfall in Ein Gedi. The water was clear and felt so good after the heat from the sun. Next we headed to the Dead Sea. Most of us slathered ourselves in mud before entering the salty water. You will see pictures later, I promise. The water was surreal both in color and feel!
Now we are on the way to the Kibbutz where we will stay for the night. We are heading into Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s memorial day, where we will get to observe a ceremony at an army base. We also got to hear about the meaning of this holiday from our Israeli peers. We know this is a time of remembrance for those fallen soldiers and we will honor their memory.
The gift of a Birthright Israel trip is made possible thanks to tens of thousands of donors including individual donors and foundations, and alumni and their families that support Birthright Israel Foundation in the United States as well as the people of Israel through the Government of Israel, and Jewish communities and Federations around the world.