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Israel day two: This trip is “awesome”

January 20, 2013

Mediterranean SeaIt was dark when we drove to our place in Israel the night before, and I had no idea that when we walked outside the next morning, we would see the Mediterranean Sea! Our guest house was right next to a grey, raging sea (it was storming outside). Not in Kansas anymore.

The first tour we took was of the ancient town of Acco, where we learned about the history of one of the oldest places in Israel. Then, we drove to Tzfat, which is one of the four holy cities of Judaism. We had a quick lunch of authentic Israeli cuisine as the rain thumped down on our umbrellas, walked around the city, went to an old synagogue, and listened to a man who practices Kabbalah. He was the type of guy who used the word “awesome” too many times to count and who sounded like he was high on drugs but was apparently simply high on life. A man very dedicated to the thing he believed in more than anything.

Now, I’ll be honest: even after listening to this man explain Kabbalah, I’m still not exactly sure what it is, but I definitely took something away from the experience. First, he emphasized the importance of names and how your name helps define who you are. He then talked about how much of a miracle it was that our group was in Israel – two thousand years after the Jewish diaspora. See, the thing that continues to awe me about the Jewish people, my people, is that despite not having a homeland for thousands of years, despite all the violence that has occurred, despite the hatred and anti-Semitism and despite the “final solution,” the Jewish people are still here and still thriving. And thousands of years after being dispersed around the world, Jewish people like myself are visiting the holiest place in our religion. It truly, truly is a miracle that cannot be taken for granted.

Initially, the rain was trying to put a damper on things by changing our itinerary and making us all cold and giving us all wet socks, which is one of the worst things. But at a certain point, for me, when the Kabbalah artist was talking with such spirit and passion about spirituality, I realized what an incredible thing it is to be in Israel. Sometimes the meaning of “I’m in Israel” gets lost, but it’s amazing to be in a place with so much history and one that helped create Western civilization as we know it.

Next, we went to a winery, where we tried four different types of wine: honey, blackberry, butterscotch and dark chocolate. Now, I don’t know how wine is supposed to taste, but these were thick and definitely tasted like their names. L’chiam!

After arriving at our kibbutz for the night, we watched an Israeli movie called “Lost Islands.” It was in Hebrew with English subtitles and proved to be an interesting look at values important to Israelis and how they live their lives.

Disclaimer: My birthright trip to Israel was absolutely incredible, beyond words. However, on this blog, I am trying to use words to describe how absolutely incredible it was. I explain what we did each day and attempt to describe the indescribable: how I felt as I traveled around the Holy Land of Israel. It’s difficult to describe some things because it was a very personal experience, but I’ll do my best. In addition, some things are just too deep or personal to comment on in a blog, but if you would like to discuss or go deeper on anything, feel free to contact me. I would love to talk about it.

From → Israel

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