Rebecca Gollub `14
Going to the Dead Sea has been something I have been looking forward to the whole trip. Waking up to clear skies and warm weather increased my excitement even more! While the Israeli soldiers came to breakfast in pants and sweatshirts, we were dressed for summer. On the way to the Dead Sea we saw the caves where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered thousands of years ago. We experienced the famous feeling of floating effortlessly in the clear warm water of the Dead Sea while looking out at the mountains in Jordan. We all came out of the day with smoother; more exfoliated and moisturized skin from the mineral mud we doused ourselves in. We dried off by basking in the sun and headed to our next destination, Ein Gedi. This desert oasis is a natural spring where all of the ibex go to drink and the tourists go to hike. We got to the top at the base of a waterfall and had a view of the large canon we were in with the Dead Sea and mountains of Jordan peeking through. One change of clothes and another falafel later we were fuelled and ready to summit Masada. We rode up to the top in a cable car and spent a lot of time walking through the ancient civilization learning about what life was like for the 1,000 Jews that lived there 2000 years ago. We are very fortunate to have an incredible tour guide that can paint a picture for us of our ancestors struggle on Masada, allowing us to really appreciate how fortunate we are to be here viewing these beautiful sites today. On top of Masada we had a panoramic view of the Dead Sea on one side and the Roman siege camp on the other. We sat in the old synagogue and learned about how the Jews struggled morally struggled when they saw that the Romans had forced their slaves, fellow Jews, to build a ramp up to the top of Masada so that they could be conquered once and for all. Instead of fighting back, 900 Jews living on Masada bravely ended their lives to save their fellow brothers and sisters. We were asked to look introspectively at what our ancestors did and see how that commitment to their people and religion could apply to our lives today. As if we weren’t already dirty enough, we got off the bus at a Bedouin camp site and set up mats on the floor of our tent where we were to spend the night. Don’t worry if your kids haven’t contacted you, there was no wifi in the tent. We heard from a member of the Bedouin community and went to dinner where we ate dinner on the floor in small tables with our friends-Bedouin style. We ended our fabulous, event packed day with a break out session. I was fortunate enough to be with the Rabbi for this time where he gave us the opportunity to vocalize how out experience has been here, our highlight of the trip and what we are looking forward to. I look forward to getting even dirtier tomorrow morning when we wake up for a camel ride! Stay tuned for pictures!