Another fun day today on Birthright. We have officially relocated to Jerusalem!
We started our day with a lookout over Southern Lebanon. This view is a mere few kilometers from the border. In the photo below, anything past that line running horizontally through the center of the photo is Lebanon (aka all the buildings):
We then made our way to the spiritual, Kabalistic city of Safed which is also located in the Galilee. Here, we did some text study and learned about Tikkun Olam (repairing the world through good deeds). We also visited extremely old Sephardi and Ashkenazi Synagogues:
We also had a few hours to support the Israeli economy by purchasing many things in the Safed market and artisan area. Naturally, lunch again today was shwarma, my favourite (though I finally think I am starting to tire of it a little bit).
Following a long bus ride down to Jerusalem, we checked into our hotel, had a quick dinner and then headed out for a night on the town on Ben Yehudah Street, the prominent outdoor pedestrian mall which is very thankfully no longer famous for being the heart of the suicide bombing target zone. Tonight we let off a bit of steam with our Israeli cousins - it was a great being able to speak to so many of them about issues that matter to them such as the repeal of the Tal Laws and of course the roadmap (or lack thereof unfortunately) for peace in the middle east.
Finally, I was able to meet up with one of my former peers who is returning to Ramah again this summer after he finishes his exams. Yet again, I am reminded of how small a country and community this really is and how open and loving Israelis are to their North American friends and family.
Jerusalem is a wonderful place to come together as a community and to really unify people. It is a city of white stone nestled between seven hills. Each hill has its own character, purpose and history and the city itself really is a place where people from throughout the world yearn to visit every day. Tonight I discovered that although Jews may not be unified in their practice of Judaism (as we have Reform, Conservative, Orthorox, and Reconstructionist streams), in Israel everyone is still (generally) united by other forces such as nationalism, mandatory army / community service, etc. Israelis don’t agree on practically anything, but yet to their North American cousins their arms are always wide open all politics aside.
Falafel & Shwarma: 4
Books Read: The Social Animal - David Brooks (50%)