Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ten Days in the Holy Land

This summer, about a month ago actually, I was fortunate enough to be selected to participate in Taglit-Birthright Israel.  Basically, because I am a Jewish person between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six and I had never been to Israel on an organized program, I was able to apply and ultimately get accepted to go to Israel.  For free.  I kid you not.  I had to pay to get to New York and for one meal per day, but that was it.  And in ten days, we travelled around the entire country.  

There were forty people on my bus and a few days into the trip we were joined by eight Israeli soldiers who are our age.  They weren't there for our protection; they were just there to enjoy the trip and meet us!  And since we were a national group, they got to meet Americans from all over our country.  Which is really cool because our country is huge (especially compared to Israel) and there are sometimes massive differences in culture between the East and West Coasts, right?  Right.  Okay.  So here are a few snapshots from my trip.  
 We hiked in the Golan Heights,
 learned about Kabbalah in Tzfat, 
 had some of the best iced coffee ever, which you can get in certain places in America at Aroma,
 went to the Old City in Jerusalem for Shabbat (this is my beautiful best friend, Leah),
 put notes in the Western Wall, 
 (this is my friend Omer)
 visited Mt. Herzl (this is the grave of Michael Levin),
 stayed in Bedouin tents in the desert,
 rode camels in the desert,
 watched the sunrise on Masada,
 had amazing staff,
and met this other version of myself, Leah (who is also a Clarinet Performance major!  We are a rare species, so it was funny that we ended up on the same trip).

Today, I am feeling nostalgic and wishing that I had extended my trip and spent more time in Israel.  I had an incredible experience and I miss it very much.  And although I wish I could do it again, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

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