Taglit Birthright: Day 1-2 Destination Jerusalem-Masada-The Dead Sea

Birthright As they say Shalom! I apologize for being MIA for the past few weeks. I was hoping to be able to upload my journey along the way, but during my first few nights in Jerusalem, my computer charger wasn’t actually charging my computer and with little wifi, it made that mission nearly impossible. However,  it somehow miraculously started working. I have SO much to share with you all but so much information and pictures, that I’ll have to do in parts so it doesn’t overwhelm. I’d like to start out by saying how beautiful Israel was, from the people to the country, even being there during some pretty intense times, I managed to have an amazing time and meet some amazing, beautiful people. So, before we left for Israel, I had heard about and was following the kidnapping and killing of three teen Israeli’s and was initially nervous and concerned for mine and my sisters safety. I had no clue how this conflict would escalate to what began to occur and is still occurring today between Israel and Gaza. I had little to no knowledge of the history of the land or the conflicts and wars that have occurred in this region over the past 20 years let alone centuries.  I will talk later about some of the things I have learned and issues and topics that have come up since traveling there. I have never met such warm, friendly, caring and peaceful people than the the people who live in Israel. I unexpectedly fell in love with this tiny country, and have seen and experienced just a small piece of the difficult situations and circumstances that the people of Israel face every single day. Sisters on Birthright

Gambling in the Vegas Airport, waiting for flight #2 to New York.

Sleeping in the Airport

Sleeping in my cocoon, during a 19 hour wait to catch our Flight at JFK Airport.

After a 6 hour flight to New York, 19 hour wait in the airport before flying to Israel, we finally arrived exhausted, and looking less than cute! Day #1: Arrival to Israel– First night in Jerusalem Meeting the Soldiers4Zr_xVoTnHc4SxP22rvMN3MhpHPorT_1n9gfTxn0lnM,D5n6fe4V1sBCR7F8oa9_RSJh5VilI_-wmX8S_OIF0dw So the first day, we arrived in Israel in Tel Aviv, as soon as we exited the plane we were greeted by the ten Israeli soldiers that would be traveling with us the entire trip. When I say soldiers, you might think they were just there to protect us if anything went wrong. But, they were ten young people either younger than me, my age or older. As I came to discover later on, they were so similar to Americans around my age, with the exception that they have to serve in the army upon graduating high school, whereas we think of what colleges and parties we’ll be attending. We played a fun activity to get to know each other, and headed to our beautiful hotel The Crowne Plaza, in Jerusalem. After relaxing and settling into our rooms, we met for our first of many, daily buffet dinners, and had an opening get-to-know-each-other group activity to start off the trip. 10468205_10204188972514911_7989598337016416579_n

First night hotel room bonding! U-akMe5CD-79xyZtWAznGVp-dF-wGOl3_k4q0ZmoeIA,79NevkVkEU3CdsvBUhUqs2PubfzeW8_mkoBoMsQ7LFw  First stop, view of Jerusalem and some Pizza.QCAVMPgHNLhfIAbSakiHAnti8vLmMtgbWnnNSUK6uC4,dYf61l1aApnTEfrcptVCqHWPjzNo2WhLsgLtP9JZmak Group Bonding session outdoors in Jerusalem. U6UjuZPAIQRkIPBruKN5w4Dp5jVwQpPCQYWS6ov-hT0,2iBgCoZtUNSGDlXvHf590UyL2Y92dNvElv3PDvMia8o 7ywK2N4rYkKK8U43B5sf4prHCmNNKGGa87hd3iafmrc,f-k3kvW3dLfUGMgkiTBycgmuV2H5rr6uEbATVw0QPx8

Overlooking beautiful Jerusalem. 7vYG5bktgiiFtwhJBPyo1vaAmuiPS9gIvH-5AFpu18Y,NIXwOfCtfhGsB1legGJuHoKnhdbHTiO4rdYBtKn6m8w IuDYTEg9Txpq6PiIhciUdQ-pVmKrgKzkEvchHSK_Rtw,VqrtDuz1iQ5VKPkEkkIuZgpl2ml1lU-BFwu6TOqGi04More of Group Session. 6Ph955kLuzedNPJfcwR7Lo_S_E2YEXJt-kUjwc0-JCo,q-OGuLbaxFnkZlKOTLVlTmQxVjnCQoTC7cm21gSMh48,K6c9QC6bDhZHAIGZDqrvpjkvYFyXMBAxzSjQJX2U7ikFirst impressions.

Day # 2 Masada, The Dead Sea, Machane Yehuda Market place, and our very first Shabbat! MasadaDay two was a very early start, with a busy–to the schedule day kind of day. On the itinerary was an early wake up, breakfast at the Crowne Plaza in Jerusalem, with a lavish buffet of food. From traditional Middle Eastern dishes such as shakshuka (eggs poached in Spicy tomato sauce which was AMAZING), hummus, and various Israeli vegetable salads, to mixed cheeses, breads, quiche, breakfast potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, fruit arrangements and my favorite Rugelache (a pastry type breakfast dessert made from rich cream-cheese dough, filled with either jam, chocolate or honey). After stuffing our faces with this delicious food, we headed for the Masada for a hike, and to learn about the history and mythology of Masada (an isolated rock plateau overlooking the dead sea), where King Herod built palaces for himself during his ruling of the Kingdom.

zjMI5AfP1pT3iPrUJVuzh40W4CIxkoXRcPpZ_TkjMnw,nGqrIVAcitZtnrRVbKBh9VMKrCSEY16PAmsXWokIGJ8Our ride up to Masada. unnamed-1 unnamed-2 unnamed-6 vrYU3690R7RQKvtBwBs5l6iJzPYSLJBRnvMsDEKM91U,01Nq7PEFq-Mu4FT1J0XWrlz672xfJeXL3mL8hxCP264,e8PBSBiAPNVlR6wgaKpPG5ymgN1P9ZJZjjYVfT49E3o Xen8GHrSy8ndn4UUhdjvXvt4CUagJwQk4NnLmxQvIQY,XJzqe-aqZZgZ6N7Nz9MlWi3Qa5QwOGoLb6XLJkKbNr0 Inside the City walls of Masadaz9X1WVt_lwsbOQ4ZWVqT0a8FqFKEnJ9fNIkaOTbzwV4,vzolCIP0zqdk7HUmY-FeFTE42b8Jg61Frj6k9fiDvmc View of Remnants of King Harod’s Personal Palace overlooking the dead sea. wuYGwWYqoVjib1SlICOVKcm_KIXa53PHAdc7dG2GMGI,7FmQQ9F662MUNavyNha8DS-oEvfjB9jmsPrtrPqhG1k The Dead Sea in the distance. R1f6nqJ6IMhaOISiX6e5onY-QGVRq6BLGN7X-BTPMLM,SDutl4IfIf2IY5fI5rdIjYRJJJt2I1UaopB1CGt0SeM,whHHpVAjYaRsTY5bfUyyOxB838xkcc-Lh-UOm7W3vYk QUA7hv1Jw6-l2MsQ6tavxjxc6S_CRJbLAtv1WQpjlA4,tEHsS5biVUsOnJzMRuKVchnTkn2pCK1fHOSi2BacvB8 tgG-VjBolY9zkIC9InASV9beQ9bLwoJeLBuA2-Iek2M,VH8mJY4Heb3dBEqsO3UDEBQ2XYo71-pNvJOAHbj_LmYTiny people once inhabited?zaqL9RTGC7nI52OY6Dwi9-y-fb9u1Fe0BA2TG2FYRAgR3JgMNwuT5kfQ14nb3qkK9Yl-NuKXVXHBshqkT_WnGw,StvBon-5doayUhgInI-2eTk9iHkaBQBF6NbM2eNwi1IJa_R-4dGriny9AztVz8uuQCY1Fodyf1K3QrXaf4nNxg,UBT0L0NRlt09wcevXiB71tYX-2G9ueROoMDHsABiNtIi7dolVkV8_rb0EbhrymnZyXOc5y-BfAcF_lInCI36nw,KkObKWC8mp1JAn14DW7J208m_Dr5-a1h3MvyK4DHzysThousand year old Roman Baths atop Mount MasadaDoex9L8hBs1KbpJLd5bwH87kcD5bb0qhBqG5TQDa--s,xkV9QFcuOq9PwERUiMoKGcMmjosRdWlKWdSCJvXif2E C_hMgTKYQi_VEFB1JAwjbMbN6cyZt2rmRoWUZ3pz45s Our Wonderful Guide Yariv teaches us about birds n things.bpgpNPqkpDOacQO2jy5QFBIC-6M7RRacdVHwqceYsaQ,fPeMxMhS6gRsztEMIUo3ALz8DLqHthueMRZStkUFSKU Remains of Roman campsites during the battle between an ancient jewish civilization.BVSdqEfVJZDGZ8ZJGE4N4g_GQi1ASmRQas-JCbTzrJs,3conjwBinwX8ovFdEb9G891o35esokjeLCPrnfhSNrc,AGkvg5fGofVSBLf5VAsxAh6JaG05f9GaXZIzHqCJkiA Mount Masada from the bottom.79fBlZCJonT7yPg6blRulwu1GlXRGJIB4uA797P0NRA,66eXnynQ2JAn7r_jQ4fUPVhmnh61f2iBE3Qixl-X5hQ Original floor tile work, preserved from thousands of years ago.5Pd9a5fn_spEETHYrdpngiGoqFaIZajSarzppvTh6mI,fSyamhJxQtIvvm8alf_-wTBy0MPmHGEaEakTIzFxYHw It was so beautiful atop the mountain, extremely hot, but learned some great historical information and enjoyed a fun hike down the Snake Path.

77qR3EDONS2UnE0hRS28R0wJk8fGXJLSCN7DKB3sDBw,WW0li3OznaacYcu9UHW1bic5BBNIgCIm49aH6C9QVa4Now for the most anticipated part of my trip/ most painful part of the day, the Dead Sea! If you didn’t already know, the dead sea is full of so much salt content that you literally float without trying. 10347704_10152244283488531_4181080622710729966_n IMG_4063 IMG_4064 IMG_4069You CANNOT dip your head in because the salt will literally make your eyes burn with pain, and what they did not warn us about…the unmentionable parts…that burned so intense it was almost hard to enjoy. However, I did enjoy putting the mud from the soil near the dead sea, all over our bodies, said to have amazing properties for the skin. I’m not sure I would ever attempt another swim in the Dead Sea just from the sheer pain, however, glad I can check it off my bucket list!

After an already exhausting day, we rushed over to the Yehuda markets to do a bit of shopping before the entire city shut down for Shabbat. Hard to believe an entire city actually shuts down for almost a day and night. If we wanted snacks or anything for the evening or next day, being that everything stays closed–our time was now, and we definitely made it happen in 45 minutes.

rp3dXol2P975G04wKkJLip8e_q1YddujnDD1mznY-fU pRpQuPOEPAmbnWpaaDAuVXrrRDoRpUFCKoeEPjjDTpU,dB2vqiTXxTX9bz31IDKh0w1cRmu08Fu0bCzd9zbXzAg ioTQvJk_KrUBUs-9l_QnqQgYeeKIOOphq2F_bYiHXgs,6g8zjYftfPxlVS7RwhD_lF5B50f1zCBXQ7lnjHlYZNQ b15PckiKC1Z-C9KHOeKWRa9A6A7h1na4NnPeYyDPDr8,K5riqAb6KPTVskZ0KRLyyLUk2rxDO3rW-anMdJYegUw The market was similar to your farmers market, with many different treats like sweets, the delicious pastries (arugula) and so much more. After choosing some cherries, candy, and amazing fresh out-of-the-oven Rugelache, we met up with the group to depart back to our hotel to prepare for Shabbat dinner. AYJMBHwje93t8-1wo_C36w2GlR9hcL_bXoo9HnZAS7g,ao3IKSy6pTqtnh_Mub-glvRAm7HYDbtQswnbEgbiRL0 aRt0ojnv2iD2q0CD9NaPSOFjvL_U5QttWNTrGPlomXs,kS3rB3DzmUIRIHCS4hERCuA1oQBar2e5pCoNqclnuZs 67qjCgx5n0HGBkuLP2Hf4fZTZmc3lInwV8NvA_X-85g,bqBLseMVXY2Ci0a3s_lFSSXyUNMiR_M2wX--izmXfYE _81xeOYa_s1MOivsPvY0dj_RULPjFG_xm0ACk1DXoUM,VHv3cqSxXh_4VGzqQbBHBP7iyh_xnlQIt3EoSklZM7EvW0UgN7UvRtx_9nKsh12kNbvPyTLmc1VeHatb0dorC0,VtO35otNnwMVkjM1N-wf0beoR-1f2pOCfijX9CFUZ9k RYFuENUFm3JaHiJXkjv-jw8zbjzH_8F5kcyEYhOqsS4,oDgPPBA49x62XIC4_rR3RQtkZJ6Xhj-xrceiFMWVOAU O8o96-yk0-Q-2bbVIIzOGtWN2BZdVS41zD1ghyJ3XFU,a04YjYBSWdN9XCpatjixvY3yqfG77IuG9guO13qAEt0 o5UJleSMsY0MnIlfW8HkBxR1HmjIEbwUwQGmsqXppDY,dYQQHMa5DDX0ImoVqov4hdqUUwyF4_PyUzEhsB-_s30 AwcylzRg1-7GKk3N2Ojg0DTYlk-89XRiOFes1FnUReA,RGSEaGCgOAyTyEphXB_IuIKnJfUCmFJRO3XoEMUxnv4 -J_nhLKBRmAMdtYoCCDwz0ywlyO5gdW9rH7OcHTV2Uk,ccGxO-YTx4OEPBt6LzXIet6b5aPkSWSWawhkU7iFfPY This was my first Shabbat experience, and best way I could go into one. With a feast that could feed the town, a ceremony with prayers to break bread, which my sister and I led (in hebrew) with some practice, and an amazing night with a new family of 40, we definitely had a wonderful Shabbat and introduction into a special two days that jews take time to partake in, each week. We had a fun “bonding” evening afterwards and definitely had an amazing evening with new friends.

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Happy Travels!

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