It has definitely been a hectic last couple of days, filled with a lot of packing, long days of travel, and a whirlwind of emotions.  We started out the week on Sunday by visiting a goat farm, where we made our own cheese followed by a very tasty lunch.  We also had some daring individuals that stepped up to try some goat milk directly from an utter, and it was humorous to say the least.  Later that day we went on another hike, but this was not just any ordinary hike, for the majority of it was through water that came up past most of our shoulders, and included the occasional concrete drain that we were able to use as a slide.

The following day we traveled to The Valley of Kibbutzim, where we saw how all of the first Jewish settlers established their land while still under British Mandate, and also participated in a team building exercise that consisted of a variety of different games in the water!  We closed out the evening by going to a sound and light show at the old roman ruins in the city of Bet Shean, where the kids learned about the fate of our trip, and that the end of very near.  There was a variety of different emotions, and as a whole spirits were very low as the reality of everything was finally setting in, but it was nice to see the group really coming together as a family in one of our more difficult times.

Moving on through the week we went on a tour of a bee farm and got to play with a handful of different animals, followed by riding the most sought after animal of all, the camel! The pictures that were taken of the kids speak volumes about how much they truly enjoyed themselves.

This morning we woke up while it was still dark out to hike up Masada in order to see the beautiful sunrise over the Dead Sea and tour around a bit.  We then let everyone catch up on some sleep, where we then had our Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program.  Although it was very last minute, all of the kids really stepped up and shared beautiful thoughts and experiences not only about the trip, but also about life as a whole and what it means growing up being Jewish.  The evening came to a close with a short but very successful meeting with four IDF soldiers who are on reserve duty in the area during this time of need, and I think they were able to shed a lot of light on what life is like for Israelis.

Spirits are definitely back up, and we intend for them to stay that way until flights can finally be squared away.  Be on the lookout for pictures!!!

Michelle and the rest of MII ’14

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