Our first full week in Israel was packed with emotion, education, and fun. On Sunday we explored the old city of David and walked through water tunnels used thousands of years ago to secure water for the city of Jerusalem. After a long, hot day, we visited the Kotel for the second time. This visit, the group got a chance to write notes and spend more time at the wall. It was a very moving experience for some, while everyone enjoyed the experience of being so close to Jewish history. After a wonderful stay in Jerusalem, we departed for Tel Aviv.
The week was filled with great local food at “shuk’s”, also known as local markets and chances to walk around for shopping. One of the most memorable experiences thus far was our trip to Dialogue in the Dark. This is an activity that takes place in complete darkness, lead by a vision impaired guide. It sends a powerful message about difficulties of living with disabilities. Continuing our exposure to difficult circumstances, we had two volunteering opportunities the next day.
First, we visited Save a Child’s Heart, where the group got a chance to play with young children suffering from heart problems. These children came to Israel to receive life saving surgery and are very far away from home. Getting a chance to visited for the sole purpose of playing and having fun is an important experience for them. In between our volunteering experiences we took a trip to the beach of the Mediterranean Sea. After some fun in the sun, we headed to a kindergarten for children of refugees. Much like the children earlier in the day, these kids don’t get a lot of play time, so the visit with our kids brightened their day.
On Thursday night we traveled back to Jerusalem for the opening ceremonies of the Maccabiah games. It was a special evening for Jewish people everywhere, celebrating the 20th games. The group mentioned how special it was to be surrounded by thousands of people from 80 different countries, all a part of the Jewish community. We were entertained by fireworks and singing, and were even surprised by a spontaneous proposal and wedding ceremony on stage.
The next morning we headed to Tzfat for Shabbat. The group experienced a very different Shabbat then what they’d ever seen before. There was a lot to reflect on. We’re excited for Havdallah tonight, and heading north tomorrow!
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any hotter
We got to explore tunnels, filled with water
We were excited to arrive in Tel Aviv
We had many experiences that we didn’t want to leave
Then the kids had quite a shock!
A visit from their former counselor, his name is Barak
Volunteering with kids made for a very fun day
Puzzles to playgrounds, we all got to play
We swam at the beach, and even saw a wedding
The Jews will win the Maccabiah games? That’s what we’re betting
We’ve begun our trip to the north and it’s all fine
Even in Israel, the sun and kids shine
Sarah and Mike