Visiting a Kibbutz, Viewing a Water Fall and Kayaking the Jordan River

This morning we woke up early, checked out if the hostel, and headed out for a scenic drive from Beit Shean to kibbutz Misgav Am.

This kibbutz sits on a mountain top nearly 10 yards (sometimes less) from Israel’s Lebanese border. There we learned about past conflicts that Israel and especially the kibbutz had with their Hezbollah Lebanese neighbors.

In America whenever we hear news of a terrorist attack in Israel, it’s hard to connect and reach out—we don’t experience this situation often. This kibbutz enlightened me in the sense of how important it is for Israel to protect itself and Jews all over the world to defend it.

After we left the kibbutz we headed to the nearby nachal snir and hiked up to a beautiful waterfall. The river that the waterfall crashes into is full of clear water, smooth rocks, fish, and a few crabs. It was amazing to see the differences between Israel’s southern and northern environments.

After lunch we then kayaked in the Jordan river. The water wasn’t as clear as the waterfall we recently saw, but it was beautiful nonetheless. I also never realized how tiring it is to paddle for over 45 minutes! I miss you all.

Here are some photos from the scenic drive.

Shabbat in the Beit Shean Hostel

This past Shabbat in our Beit Shean hostel was amazing.

After a beautiful Kabbalah Shabbat full of carlebach tunes, all of the guests in the hostel sat down together for the Friday night meal. When we finished the delicious dinner the whole dining room sounded with Shabbat shirim.

To entertain ourselves for the rest of the night, we played a game of cards. Israeli kids joined us and we became fast friends.

During Shabbat afternoon we played basketball with these Israeli teens and swam in the hostel’s pool. When Shabbat ended we had a long havdala full of song with the rest of the guests. We soon had to say goodbye to our foreign friends since they had school the next day.

Although we were more than ready for bed, our night had not reached an end!

Rabbi Sabo was able to book the famous lightshow in Beit Shean which showcases the city’s history from King Shaul until the Romans. We saw the cursed and barren Mount Gilboa that Shaul died on, and walked in the ancient and original Roman main shopping street—complete with broken and carved columns.

Tired, we returned to our hostel to sleep before another busy day. On Sunday we woke up to our nearly empty hostel. We drove from Beit Shean to the city of Akko, which geographically is driving across Israel from East to West.

In Akko we met with Akiba’s sister school, the Eshkol school. We learned about the week’s Parsha, and then played a competitive game of basketball with them. Luckily, I was forced to practice my Hebrew since most of the students didn’t speak English. After meeting with the kids we headed out to the old city of Akko for a tour/scavenger hunt. There we enjoyed beautiful views of the Mediterranean, and walked through the market.

Already tired, we drove to the neighboring city, Nahariyah and ate lunch. Next, we headed to Rosh Hanikra which is almost touching Israel’s border with Lebanon. Tunnels in giant rocks were excavated in Rosh Hanikra with great viewpoints of the beautiful blue ocean.

As we walked slowly through the slippery tunnels, we could hear the water thundering as it pounded against the rocky walls.

With time to spare before dinner we decided to head down to beach below us. Since this trip to the beach wasn’t on our itinerary, we hadn’t packed swim clothes. We just jumped into the waves, swam around, and walked through the sand in our everyday clothes.

Here are some photos from the weekend:

Exploring Masada, Floating the Dead Sea

This morning we woke up earlier than usual so we could drive to Masada.

After a two hour drive from Jerusalem, we finally arrived at the huge mountain and took the cable car up. Stepping out of the tram we were greeted by thousands of rocks and strong gusts of wind.

We explored the mountain and found huge cisterns with smooth cool walls, palace chambers with broken down orange-brown rock, mikvahs, and an ancient shul. At the shul we davened shacharit, and learned that the synagogue was built in a sephardic way—seats all facing each other, columns in the middle of the building and a bimah between the columns.

After we left Masada, we went to go float in the Dead Sea. As I said before, it was a very windy, and this weather condition didn’t make the already uncomfortable sea any better. As we floated in the water that felt like cold oil, the wind caused the waves to carry us and splash in our faces. Despite all this, the sea was still a lot of fun. I have never seen a sea like it with its rocky shore.

After rinsing off, we drove to our new hostel in Bet She’an.