Shabbat Shalom Camp Micah! Today, we have finished our first full week in Israel! After a long flight from Poland, we arrived in Israel with an incredible sense of belonging. Our first stop: Jerusalem! Once we got settled at our hotel, we had our first Shabbat (short, but Micah-style), and a very tasty introduction to Israeli cuisine. On Saturday, we had a whole lot of sleeping, swimming at the pool, talking about our Polish experience, and meeting a group of UK kids on a school trip! We ended the day with Havdalah, and nighttime excursion to Ben Yehuda street. 

On our visit to Ben Yehuda Street we had ice cream, crepes, bought clothes, and Danny “don’t touch the” Katz had an…unfortunate encounter with, a stray cat. Sunday, we took a journey to the Old City of David; an area oozing with history, incredible structures, and a long water tunnel just a few feet wide, so short a lot of us had to crouch the whole time, and so dark you couldn’t see your own hand in front of you. To say the least, it was a bonding experience for all of us. The day ended with a trip to the Kotel, aka the Western Wall. We had messages to put into the cracks in the bricks, and to put it simply, it was an incredibly emotional and moving experience. For the Fourth of July, we went to the old Jewish quarter, and had enough time for a scavenger hunt, shopping time, and a look at the beautiful church of the Holy Sepulchre. Before we went back to the hotel, we volunteered at a food pantry by packing tons of bags of food for families across Israel, which we were able to make a lot of fun of by tossing a LOT of bags, sometimes a bit too fast and/or hard. The next day, we took a look at the Hertzl national cemetery, where hundreds of graves of soldiers and important political figures lie. 

As a weird segue way, our next stop was a ropes park! Fears of heights were defied on ziplines, a bungee jump, and a million obstacles to climb through! It did get a little bit complicated when a good few of us got a little bit stuck between a large group of little Israeli kids, our friends, and the exit of the structure. That was nothing in comparison to what was next on the trip: the 3-day, technology-free, very hot and dry journey through the Negev desert. After our phones were taken and we were dropped at a campsite in the middle of the dry and rocky desert, we were immediately greeted with some amazing classic Israeli camping food. We played some football and tossed a frisbee until the light was gone. Although away from camp, we got the privilege of having our own campfire where we sung songs and watched the stars come out. There is absolutely no sight like the sky in the Negev. Sitting in our sleeping bags, all grouped up chatting the night away while we were mesmerized by shooting stars and the glowing moon is a memory that has been engraved in all our brains forever. Although the night may have been a bit chilly without shelter, it was more than worth it. Sometime early the next morning, we were awoken by our tour guides and the beautiful sunrise for a quick cereal snack, before a five-mile hike. We went to a couple lookout points and saw some sand, some dirt, some rocks, some sand, and of course some dirt. Miles and miles of emptiness. When we got back, the campground had a couple baby pools set up for us to lounge in. While some had a desert beach afternoon, others slept in what little shade they could find. The heat was brutal during the day but it’s something we all got through together. Before dinner we went on another short hike and did a little relaxing meditation while listening to the sounds of endless nothingness. After another hummus filled dinner, we went scorpion hunting with our tour guide Noam who showed us how they glow a bright neon yellow under a UV light. Scary creatures! After another slumber under our star filled roof, we went out on another hike early the next morning and saw the Roman crater which is one of the biggest craters created by only water, it was quite the view. Now that we’re all coated in a pleasant 4 layers of dust, we’re headed to Eilat to shower for 24 hours. 

As this week comes to a close, we’d also like to make a quick mention of how we had not one, but THREE birthdays this week! Will RC got a surprise birthday cake at dinner, Joey F got to misbehave a little bit more than expected, and Jolie G is celebrating her sweet sixteen with a shabbat dinner and well-deserved shower. With that said, stay cool and dust-free, Camp Micah! 

Avery “Frog hat” M. and Ezra “Hummus Reviews” W.

P.S. there are rumors flying around that this trip is breaking color war next session. although that is probably untrue, we hope the cwc will take this idea into account 😉

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