By Rabbi Melissa B. Simon
What an amazing journey! We’ve traveled from the north of Israel to the south and then up to Jerusalem and now back to the desert.
After a dawn hike up Masada and a refreshing hike in the oasis of Ein Gedi, our participants were surprised with the arrival of eight young Israeli soldiers who joined our group for the rest of our trip. Shabbat was at the Dead Sea with a lot of time for relaxing and getting to know our Israeli participants.
We traveled up to Jerusalem for an emotional day committed to remembering the Holocaust at Yad VaShem (the Holocaust Memorial Museum) and those who gave their lives in defense of the land of Israel at Har Herzl (Israel’s National Cemetery). The following day included visits to the Old City of Jerusalem including the Kotel (the Western Wall) and to Machane Yehuda (the open air market).
Then it was back to the desert for a night in the Bedouin tents with camel rides, star gazing, and a bonfire. This morning began with a trip to the grave of David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, who is buried in the desert in Sde Boker. By tonight, we’ll be in Tel Aviv!