We had a busy week here in Israel. At the beginning of the week we were in Tel Aviv until Tuesday. We went to Independence Hall where we learned how Ben Guiron declared independence in Israel. Then we volunteered at The Jaffa Institute where we played with kids from struggling families and poor communities. It was an amazing experience to get to know the kids. Seeing them smile and play various games from Frisbee and soccer to hoolla-hooping and playing catching made all of us feel better by doing a mitzvoth. The next day we volunteered at Save A Child’s Heart where kids from different countries came to the facility in Israel for heart surgeries stayed at. We sang and danced, drew various pictures and played games with them to help brighten up their day. The members and volunteers described how their high success rate surgeries which normally cost 250,000 dollars in the US only cost them 10,000 dollars. This has allowed them to complete many more surgeries and save over 3,000 lives.
Following, we visited a kibbutz which had a secret bullet factory underground that produced ammunition for the Palmach. We toured with our awesome guide Kayla as she showed us how the members of the community used intellect and chutzpa to cover up all the noise and machinery while working close under Britain’s watch.
Tuesday we visited the Palmach museum where the group learned about the secret military the Jewish people created to help fight in the war. We all were in awe by the ability that a small motivated group could accomplish.
Next we went to the ancient city of Caesarea. The views of the Mediterranean were incredible there and it was so interesting to learn how the Romans built the city and how they ruled it for an extensive period of time. That night we slept on the beach, which was so peaceful. We sang songs by the water, watching the sunset, as well as sitting around the bonfire making memories.
We rose early and drove to one of the Carmel Forest Restoration Project sites where we cleared dead vines, branches, and trees which were debris from prior forest fires and to prevent any further ones. Then we went to a Detention Camp where Jewish people attempting to come to Israel were taken to by the British. This was a surprise to many of us because we didn’t have too much knowledge of where the Jews went after the Holocaust. The camp was not a Death nor Concentration Camp; Jews were only held there to live under the eye of the British. The camp reminded us that following the Holocaust, life was not all easy for the Jewish people.
On Thursday we went to the sea grottoes in Rosh Hanikrah near our hotel, and that was such a cool experience. The sights were beautiful and it was interesting to see how the caves were formed from the impact of the water overtime. We traveled into the Muslim quarter and learned about their history and why they are interested in the holy land.
It is now Shabbat and we have arrived in Zefat. We had an amazing but hot day touring around and going to the Mikvah’s, which are natural holy water pools. http://www.campmicah.com/tel-aviv-caesarea-haifa-acco-and-now-zefat/The guys were allowed to take a dip in the waters and speak with a member of the community about his life in Zefat while the girls had a meditation session and spoke with a female of the community. We will soon visit an IDF base near the Lebanese border which has us all excited.
The twins: Ella & Ethan