Group 8: Eastern Europe/Israel Pilgrimage

Sunday, July 31st

After a wonderful Shabbat together, Group 8 spent the day around the Kinneret. They hiked down the Arbel, a fortress from the Second Temple Period and then cooled off from the hot day with a swim in the Kinneret! They stopped by the Kinneret cemetery where the famous poet Rachel is buried and visited the grave if Naomi Shemer, famous for her song “Jerusalem of Gold.” In the afternoon, the group rode donkeys and all had a turn to lead the donkey and to ride one as well. They dressed up just like ancient donkey riders and learned about the history of Kfar Kedem. Later, they boarded the bus for the ride back to Kibbutz Hannaton.

Friday, July 29th

Today the group spent their morning in the mystical city of Tzfat. Among the many people who came from Tzfat are the prominent kabbalists, Isaac Luria and Moshe Kordovero. Besides the kabbalists, Tzfat also attracted numerous other Jewish scholars and spiritualists, including Joseph Caro, the author of the Shulchan Aruch and Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz, composer of the shabbat hymn Lecha Dodi. The group had a tour of the city, synagogues, and had an opportunity to go shopping at the famous candle factory. They returned to Kibbutz and had time to prepare and to look their best for Kabbalat Shabbat. They are excited to have a day for rest and relaxation. Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, July 28th

Today the group spent the day in the Upper Galilee. They began at an overlook at Metulla, and then went on a water hike in Nahal Snir. After lunch the group had a blast kayaking in the Jordan River and from there they went shopping at the famous Neot factory where they had fun trying on and buying sandals. They then headed back to Hannaton for dinner.

Wednesday, July 27th

This morning the group drove up to Mount Miron, the highest mountain in Israel pre 1967. They took a hike around the summit with a view of the entire north of Israel. They then headed to Rosh Hanikra where they walked through the beautiful grottos created by the water hitting the rock for hundreds of years. Their next stop was the city of Acco. There, they visited the Templar Knights tunnels. The Templar Knights built a fortress in Akko in the 12th century BCE, after the fall of Jerusalem to Saladin. The fortress was built on the southwest corner of the city, so the Knights built a 350-meter long tunnel connecting the fortress to the port on the southeast side of the city. This evening they returned to Kibbutz and enjoyed an evening of BBQ and swim.

Tuesday, July 26th

The group started the day at a water hike in a stream called the Majrasa. They learned about Olive oil extraction which is the process of extracting the oil present in the olive drupes for food use and then had a yummy pizza lunch. They drove up mount bental, which at 1171 meters above sea level offers some of the most commanding views in the area. From there they drove to Kibbutz El Rom and watched a short movie about the Yom Kippur war and finished the day with some free time in Tveria.

Monday, July 25th

The group left Jerusalem for their Northern week of the trip, with a first stop in Haifa. At the top of the carmel mountain they viewed a panoramic view of the city and even stepped inside the beautiful Bahai gardens. Next was Osafia where they enjoyed a delicious Druze meal while hearing all about the special traditions and culture of the Druze. The group stopped at the muhraka, the site described in the book of Kings, where Elijah the prophet confronted the prophets of Baal. The group ended the day at Hannaton, which will be their base for the coming week, and enjoyed a special tour of the kibbutz.

Sunday, July 24th

After a relaxing Shabbat, the group spent the day learning about mitzvah projects with Danny Siegel. They toured around Jerusalem in the morning, visiting Shalva, an organization that deals with mentally and physically challenged children. From there they drove to Ramot were they helped pack meals with Moshe Kot, who started the Lev Ramot Organization, a food bank that feeds 450 families once a week and does it completely anonymously.  In the afternoon, they had a lecture with Bradley Cohen of “All for the Kids.” Before dinner they had an interesting Midrash limud (study) with Rich Moline and after dinner they had a group activity about Israeli culture, prepared by their staff.

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