SuperParent27: Hi honey!! How is Israel? How was Day Four?
campLover91: Hi! It’s great.
SuperParent27: That’s it?!
campLover91: yeah its really fun.
SuperParent27: I haven’t seen you in 4 days and that’s all you have to tell me? I need details!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
campLover91: ok! I’ll be very thorough (Note: please don’t expect this in real life).
campLover91: Today we awoke in the Nazareth Plaza Hotel for the third and final time, a bit sleepy from our wild (don’t worry, not too wild) night out in Tiberius. After a hurried breakfast of bountius eggs, grapefruit, yogurt, and more, we boarded the buses with all of our luggage and began the drive to the North. On the way, we stopped to pick up eight Israeli soldiers who will be travelling and staying with us for five days. They boarded the bus and we headed to the Mitzudat Koach Memorial. It’s called the Koach Memorial because the name in Hebrew has two letters whose numerical values combine to represent 28, for the 28 soldiers who died there. There we were formally introduced to the soldiers. They are so cool! It has been really fun to meet with and interact with Israelis who are our age and, yet, lead such different lives. It was fascinating how Daniel, our lovely guide, mentioned that the only thing that seperates us is really just a chance of history: our ancestors came to America while theirs went to Israel, and we could easily have grown up in Israel or them in America if things had been different. Afterwards, we went to Misgav-Am Kibbutz on the Lebanese Border. It was seriously one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. To the west we saw an expanse of southern Lebanon, to the east the Hula valley of Israel, and to the north Syria, with the beatiful snow-capped Mount Hermon (parts of it are in Israel and others in Syria) to the northwest. We also heard from Aryeh Ben Yachov, who moved from Cleveland to the Kibbutz nearly 50 years ago and has lived there ever since.
Next, we went off-roading in Jeeps near the Golan Heights. I crashed. jk. But actually we did get to drive and it was beautiful and a lot of fun. Afterwards, we boarded the bus again (with some delicious oranges and pecans we took from the trees) and went to lunch. My falafel was great but not quite as crisp as the one from the first day—it could have used another thirty seconds in the fryer. Last we went to a nature preserve along the river Banias, and walked through a narrow valley and, at the end of the short hike, saw a beatiful waterfall. We talked a bit about nature and how it is viewed, loved, and respected in the Jewish faith. Finally, we boarded the buses for a long ride to Natanya, just north of Tel Aviv, and had a fun ride hanging out and talking to each other and our 8 new Israeli friends.
It was really interesting hearing about Aryeh’s time in the military and also, earlier, hearing the stories of the battles that occurred at the Mitzudat Koach memorial on the same day we met the soldiers, as they combined to give us a great picture of what it actually means to defend Israel. This was pretty meaninful to me because on one hand we have the soldiers, who are so similar to us in many ways, and, in the other, Aryeh, who is much older and, for many of us, probably views the world in a bit of a different way. For me, it was very thought provoking because although Aryeh clearly had different views than me on Middle Eastern politics, I felt like I admired him for the conviction of his beliefs and understood him and maybe even this country a little bit better for hearing them. I also can’t understate how beatiful the landscape was from the Kibbutz and really everywhere we were today. Aryeh said he knew immediately the first time he went to the North that he wanted to live there for the rest of his life, and it really was breathtaking to look out from the top of the mountain on which the Kibbutz was located. Daniel also said a bit when we walked to the waterfall about how, as Jews, we really “owned” the waterfall, and it was pretty cool to think about that and all of the Jewish history that has permeated that whole gorgeous valley. It was definitely my favorite day of the trip so far. How is everything at home? How’s the fam?
SuperParent27:What is “fam”?
SuperParent27: And jk is just kidding, right?
SuperParent27: I was just making sure!! Didn’t want you to have crashed the Jeep!! Sounds like a ton of fun!! Everything at home is great!!
campLover91: gtg, bye! Love u
SuperParent27: Bye!! Love you too!! Have fun tomorrow!!
-Ian Schneider D’14