July 11, 2012
It’s day two
Our adventure began at the Israel bus stop on Thursday July 8. Anticipating our arrival were the Israeli soilders. As we pulled up you could see their faces light up with joy. As they anxiously boarded the bus questions and excitement filled the air. We had so many questions for them as they did for us. The bond between the Israeli soilders and Mayanot taglit began to grow as the bus ride went on.
We arrived at the water rafting site and paired up in groups. The chatzbani stream was rapidly flowing. The ride consisted of gentle gliding to fast paced crashing into rocky terrain. As rabbis tried to dunk rabbis and splash fights broke out, our river rafting ride was one we will never forget.
We approached a beautiful spread of lunch on the rafting site and boarded the buses for Haifa. In Haifa we were greeted by a drunkard in a tux who was rambling about his poety accomplishments. We than realized we were on a theatrical tour of Haifa where silly characters took us around town and showed us the major sites. They reminded us how g-d centered the city is by all the spiritual inscriptions on the walls of buildings in Haifa.
As a even closer group we headed toward the mega event. Music and food filled the air as we stood outside the event and ate dinner at the many food stands that were outside the concert. While eating we were approached by people offering extension programs. Finally it was time for the mega event. As songs played you saw people lifted in the air . Circles of people dancing and twirling, yelling and cheering. As the speakers gave their speeches they were paying special attention to all the different countries that were together as one huge Tagit group. As they acknowledged brazil all of the brazil birthright people would cheer and scream. From Brazil, France, USA and more we all represented our countries as we embraced the beauty of the concert and the honor to be in Israel. It filled us with the spirit of Israel, the holiness of the country and most importantly the desire to return.
- I already feel like so much has happened. Mayanot 448 has such amazing people and staff, and I’m so glad Im experiencing all of this with them. After waking up for an early breakfast, the group put on their hiking gear and we ventured off to hike Nachal Amud. No words can do justice to how beautiful this place is. I’m not quite sure why they said it’s easy (maybe they knew we’d whine if they said otherwise), but the sites that we saw and things that we did made it so worth it.
After a treacherous hike through the mountains we arrived at a waterfall and were able to swim and relax. We saw other groups of Israelis there and it was cool to see them appreciating what they have around them. After some water and ice pops we made our way to the religious and beautiful city of Tzfat. The cobblestone streets and unique alleyways gave the city such character and you can tell the locals dont take it for granted. After some sightseeing, we were able to do some of our most anticipated activities: eat + shop! We got a chance to try schwarma, falafel and the authentic jewelry and artwork of the Israelis.
Finally, we were introduced to Avraham Leventhal, a local who came to Israel from the U.S. to study Kaballah. He said some pretty significant words about his outlook on life and even let us buy some of his artwork.
Once we left Tzfat, we made our way to an educational center called Otzar Stam. We learned about the history of Mezuzahs and Tefillin, and even met a scribe who offered to write our Hebrew names on parchment paper. After a great dinner, we got a chance to do what we’ve been waiting for: party in Israel! We walked around the shops, went dancing and got to see some authentic Israeli markets. I cant believe how much I’ve experienced in just one day! It’s been amazing so far. Israel is starting out to be an incredible country and I’m so thankful and excited to see what Taglit Birthright has in store. Sachtein Mayanot! You’re doing a great job!