All is going splendidly over here with Bus #271! We are having a blast! Since we started the trip in the North of Israel, we are now making our way down towards the center. We began Thursday with a tour of the ancient city of Caesarea, visited the famous amphitheater and walked along the coastline. We then met the group of nine Israelis who have joined our trip for the weekend and were excited to see that they come from all walks of life including students, an engineer, and a flight attendant!
From there we drove to the border town of Alfei Menashe where we had an intriguing geopolitical tour, giving us further insight into the Palestinian Territories and the current political conflict. After that we had a nice long drive to Jerusalem where we then settled into our hotel in the neighborhood of Bayit V’Gan for some much needed rest.
Friday morning began with a tour of the old city of Jerusalem and a visit to the Western Wall. Our tour guide Chanan led us through a meditation allowing us to envision what life was like for the Jewish people living in that very location thousands of years ago, and just before we approached the Western Wall, we listened to a radio recording of a journalist reporting on the reclaiming of
the Western Wall during the 6 Day War! It was a very inspiring and emotional experience. Next we made our way to Machane Yehuda (the Jerusalem market) where we had lunch and time to roam, taking in the many sights, smells, sounds and tastes of a bustling Jerusalem preparing for Shabbat.
Afterwards, we returned to the hotel where we had some downtime to prepare for Shabbat, followed by welcoming in Shabbat with the lighting of the Shabbat candles together, Kabbalat Shabbat, a delicious dinner, and a fun game called “White Elephant”.
We spent Shabbat day with optional activities like Acro-Yoga and an Improv class led by our peers, followed by a Jewish identity activity, lunch, a lecture and then a night out on the town.
We cannot believe it is already day 7, but we are feeling great, having fun, and ready for more adventure! We have many more exciting experiences to come as we head to the South of Israel this week and will be sure to keep you posted!
(Photo credits: Zach Muller