Rabbi Lutz's Israel Trip Blog

Sunday, July 16, 2006

 

Day 12: Shabbat in Tel Aviv

Day 12: Shabbat in Tel Aviv

It is so hard to believe that tomorrow is our last day. I’m not sure if there will be another chance to blog. If not, this may be our last message from the Holy Land.

It has been an amazing trip in every way … and has certainly strengthened our ties to this place and to its wonderful, courageous and strong people. As I am writing this I am listening to the incredulous news that the Vatican has condemned Israel for its incursion into Lebanon … and I wonder how any other country in the world would react to the kidnapping of soldiers from its border or the firing of rockets into its cities.

Today a small group of us traveled to the reconstructed Roman City of Bet Shean. It is really an interesting cite. This was never a Jewish city … always held by the Canaanites, the Greeks and the Romans. The Israelites tended to be a mountain people and this was a valley city. Nonetheless it was a gateway into the Holy Land from Babylonia. It is mentioned only once in the bible as the city and people that defeated King Saul. It is said that it is from the walls of this city that the bodies of the King and his son were hung.

It is a very interesting place to see as most of the ruins remain intact, unvandalized. So, over the past 25 years the city has been reconstructed. There is still another 20 years of work to do … but in the end archaeologists hope to pretty much reconstruct the entire city.

Later we visited a 6th c. synagogue at Kibbutz Bet Alpha.

On the way home we stopped by the natural water pool of Sachneh, which was very, very busy with Israelis (Jewish and Arab alike!) enjoying a day off. Then we stopped at the Israeli Arab village of Um el Fahm for a great lunch.

The majority of the group decided to remain in Tel Aviv enjoying a day of r&r. Many of the kids journeyed to the cinema to see Pirates II (complete with Hebrew subtitles.)

The day ended by joining together for Havdalah … then many journeyed to old Jaffa for dinner and last minute shopping.

Tomorrow is, unbelievably our last day. We will travel to the ancient synagogue of Tzippori where our eldest member, Milt Cohen, will celebrate a second bar mitzvah. After a donkey ride and tree planting we will return to Tel Aviv for final packing and a farewell dinner. Then it is off to the airport. If possible, I will send another communication from there.

If not, thank you all for your words, your prayers, your questions and your support. It has been wonderful sharing this with you …

B’Shalom, R.Lutz

Saturday, July 15, 2006

 

Days 10 and 11: Haifa and Ketushas

Days 10 and 11: Haifa, the North and the current situation.

We had a leisurely morning Wednesday before heading to the airport for a flight north to Haifa. Upon arriving at the airport for our trip on a small Israir turbo-prop, we learned that two Israeli soldiers had been kidnapped on the Lebanese border by Hezbollah terrorists. We were told that our flight had been diverted to Tel Aviv as the Israeli air force had restricted use of the airspace in the north.

So, we arrived at a small airport in Tel Aviv and boarded a bus for the hour trip to Haifa.

Haifa is a stunningly beautiful city. Our hotel, located at the top of the Carmel looked out over the city down below, the beautiful Bahai Temple and the port. In fact, ironically, we could look all the way north to Rosh Pina … a wonderful sea grotto on the Lebanese border. Obviously, our plans had changed and we were not going to make it there.

We took a brief walking tour of Haifa stopping at an overlook to talk about the city. From there, as we were listening to Hillel, our guide, we could hear the shelling going on just twenty five miles north.

Thursday morning we arose and boarded the bus to Acco, a very ancient coastal city a few miles north of Haifa. While aware of the news, we felt confident that we would be fine as we were still over twenty miles from the fighting in Lebanon.

We spent an uneventful morning touring this town whose walls have seen so much history. Here we are visiting an absolutely amazing Tunisian synagogue, every wall covered in mosaic tiles, 7 silver ark doors, 30 Sephardic scrolls, all lovingly dedicated and painstakingly created by the members of this synagogue.







Acco was an ancient Christian Crusader fort and capital of the Crusaders in the Holy Land. This was the point of arrival for many Christian pilgrims who came to make the 3 month pilgrimage to holy sites. (Only 50%, we were told, lived to make the return journey.)

Later on, an Arab ruler of Acco, repelled Napoleon Bonaparte’s attempt to add the Holy Land to his empire.

The British would later use this fortress as an infamous prison. Here they famously hung 8 members of the Irgun and Lechi. We saw the reconstructed prison wall where Menachem Begin and his Irgun compatriots had exploded a truck full of dynamite in order to free their imprisoned colleagues.

We had an entertaining tour of a famous Turkish bath, (no longer in operation unfortunately) … and then enjoyed a lunch of hummus, pita and such at a small Arab kiosk in the city.

From there we departed in the early afternoon for Tzfat. On the way we passed many Arab villages. We were told that Arab Israelis actually outnumber, Jewish Israelis in the north. We climbed the mountains through beautiful JNF forests towards Tzfat. Just before arriving in Tzfat we passed Mt. Meron, where the great Rabbi Hillel is buried; and where, the Orthodox take their boys, on Lag b’Omer for their first haircut at three years old. On the top of Mt. Meron is a new Israeli air force base, which Hezbollah had unsuccessfully tried to hit with a Ketushah rocket. We passed the smoke from the burning forest where the rocket had hit. It was our first indication of what we were about to encounter.

As we drove up the last incline towards Tzfat, where the mystic Rabbi Luria had developed the mystic practice of Kabbalah, we were passed by and ambulance, police care and news van … all with sirens blaring away. We entered Tzfat to find a traffic jam and our way to the artist colony that we had all so looked forward to visiting, blocked. Our bus driver David, (a George Clooney look alike) opened his door to speak to the policeman and our guide Hillel, commanded him, “Okay, we’re going to Tiberias.”

We were later to find out that the rocket that landed in Tzfat (the first time in 30 years that the city had come under any fire) arrived there just minutes before us. Likewise, (and ironically), another rocket or two hit one of the Arab villages we had just driven through.

It was, needless to say, a rather tense situation. But, everyone handled it with great poise. We got out of the area as quickly as possible, singing Jewish songs along the way. And what to do to calm edgy nerves? We headed to the Yarden winery in the lower Golan. There we learned about the growing of grapes and the production of wine that is both quality and kosher. After a demonstration we all joined together in tasting … yep I mean ALL … well not the younger kids … but the older kids for sure.






Then we headed down and around the Sea of Galillee (the Kineret). The scenery is quite beautiful. Here are some of the oldest Jewish kibbutzim in the resettlement of Israel that began in the 1890s. We passed fields that had to be farmed at night to avoid the shooting of Syrian gunmen who sat on the top of the hills overlooking the Kineret.

Arriving at Decks Restaurant we boarded a boat for a short trip around the lake. Many of the ladies joined together in a little belly dancing with our guide Hillel’s wife. Then we all joined in some Israeli dancing and some much needed releasing of energy.

This was followed by a wonderful dinner that included a fireworks tribute to the ‘brave’ travelers from Southern California who had made their way through the rocket attacks … and later on a dessert tribute to all of our Bar and Bat Mitzvah children of the last year, including our youngest Bar Mitzvah, Milton Cohen (85) who will celebrate a re-Bat Mitzvah on Sunday morning.

While enjoying our dinner we discovered that a rocket or two had hit Haifa. At that point it was determined that we were returning to Haifa only to pack our bags and move to Tel Aviv.

We arrived in Tel Aviv about 1.30 a.m. – tired but relieved to be out of harms way. While it is not an experience we would wish on anyone, we all came away with a much greater appreciation of just what it means to live in this country …. Living under continual threat from your neighbors, from terrorists, etc. It is difficult for us all to watch the news and know that the picture they are giving is not the whole story … or even always an unbiased view. It has made many of us angry and frustrated. But our experiences have created a cadre of strong advocates for this country and what it stands for.

Tomorrow: Day 11, Shopping and Shabbat in Tel Aviv.

 

Day 9: Petra and Dolphins

Hi all ... this was written before all the excitement in Haifa .. but never got posted enjoy. We are all doing fine ... Shabbat shalom, Rabbi Lutz

Day 9: Petra and Dolphin Swimming

Today was filled with different adventures:

For ½ of our group it was an excursion out of Israel to Jordan, in order to visit the ancient city of Petra. (Of Indiana Jones fame … the final scenes of last movie I believe)

It was a strange feeling leaving Israel and heading into an Arab country – even one at peace with Israel. Besides our driver and our tour guide, Ali … there was the tourist policeman, Shareef, who accompanied us bearing arms wherever we went. A discussion ensued as to whether he was there to protect us or, to make sure Ali did not step out of bounds … or maybe both. Who knows?

Jordan is a clearly a clean and well organized country … but still the signs of poverty are everywhere. And yet, there are also signs of a growing middle class. The port city of Aqaba, next door to Eilat is growing quickly, obviously benefiting from its peace with Israel and growing sea trade. There are hotels going up everywhere … a sign that more tourists are coming to Jordan and the there are more residents of Jordan with money to spend.

The drive through the country is definitely a drive through wilderness … and everywhere you look there are Bedouin tents and around them their occupants herding their goats. There are simple homes of concrete block construction … all with unfinished roofs. Our tour guide tells us that this is an Arab custom. The roof is left unfinished so that the next generation of the family can simply build a new floor on top!

Petra is an ancient city carved out of sand stone canyons by the Nabateans, Greeks and Romans from the 4th Century BCE to about the 4th century CE. It was occupied up to the 12th century … until it was ‘rediscovered’ by an English archaeologist in the 19th century. It is truly a fascinating place and was certainly a wild adventure.

As we walked through the site, trying to understand Ali (here he is in the blue baseball cap talking to Joel Lowell) through his heavy accent, we had young Bedouin children tugging at our sleeves trying to get us to buy everything from rocks collected around he site to hand made ‘jewelry’.


As interesting as Jordan was, it sure felt good to walk back across that border. I think that we all understood a little betther that feeling of being at 'home' in Israel.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

 

Israel Trip Update!

Due to the current state of Israel right now, Rabbi Lutz and company are currently packing their bags in Haifa and are moving South to spend the remainder of their trip in Tel Aviv at the Dan Hotel. They are all safe and in good spirits and send their love! Rabbi Lutz will write more when they reach Tel Aviv, but please know they are well and are taking every necessary precaution to make sure they are out of harms way. Please do not worry they will be relaxing and enjoying the rest of their trip at an amazing hotel in a wonderful location. Below is the description of the hotel, it will make you wish you were there with them! The Dan hotel is located on a shoreline lapped by the blue Mediterranean, yet with the urban sophistication of Tel Aviv. The Dan Hotel is a four star hotel in the center of everything yet away from it all. Perfect for a sun and fun vacation, a business trip, or a bit of both, the luxurious Dan Tel Aviv will meet your every expectation!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

 
Day 8: Eilat, Camel Rides and Reform Kibbutzim

Today began with a desert adventure, riding a camel trail. Now riding camels is not like riding horses … first they are much taller, second there is that big hump and third … well, they don’t walk like horses. Unlike horses, camels move both legs on the same side of their body at the same time (horses move one leg on each side at the same time) This makes camels sway back and forth, like a boat. So, at first there is that uneasy feeling that you are about to fall off. But, after you get used to it … it’s not all that bad really.

We then traveled back north a ways to visit Kibbutz Lotan. The kibbutz is comprised of about 50% American immigrants and 50% native Israelis. Almost all the American immigrants are individuals that grew up in Reform or Conservative youth movements in America and moved to Israel.

We ate lunch in the kibbutz dining room with the members of the kibbutz. Then we received a brief orientation the kibbutz and it’s industry. This small Reform kibbutz is doing some amazing environmental work in the Arava. In fact, it is work that is being recognized internationally. After listening to all the things they are doing, we all started wondering what more we could do both to support the kibbutz, connect our children and theirs AND do more environmentally at TAS. (I’m sure you will hear more about that!

Then it was back to Eilat (after one more stop for ice cream and milk shakes at KibbutzYotvata) to enjoy swimming and the Red Sea. By the way those of us who did swim in the Red Sea (as was pointed out by our guide Hillel) have completed a trifecta, we have swum ‘med, dead and red.’

To understand Eilat, imagine Palm Springs, in the summer, on the ocean (temperature and environment wise …) 115% in the shade with a cool refreshing ocean in which to swim. There are huge hotels here … packed presently with Israelis – who I am sure get the same good summer discounts you can now get in Palm Springs. In the winter this place is packed with tourists from the Northern climates who come here to get away from Winter.

 
Day 7: Good bye Jerusalem … Hello Eilat

by the way ... I've included some new pictures for day 6 ... be sure to take a look.

Sunday morning we bid a tearful goodbye to Jerusalem, singing ‘tefillat ha-derech’ as we made our way out of Jerusalem and headed towards the Dead Sea.

It is quite a drop as we go from 2500 feet above sea level to the lowest place on earth, some 1300 feet below sea level. But before arriving there, we had some important stops to make along the way.

First the Ahava Factory, a compulsory stop for many of the ladies on the trip … where we certainly aided the Israeli company and filled every empty space on our bus with Ahavah product. (I now have a new understanding of AHAVAT Shalom …)

From the factory we headed to Masada, one of the most moving and emotionally powerful locations in all of Israel. Here there are breathtaking views of the Arava and the Dead sea. We spent many hours exploring this amazing Herodian palace and the final point of resistance for the Jewish zealots rebelling against Rome. I am sure that you all know the story of the 3 year battle that ended with the zealots killing themselves – dying as free men and women rather than being subjected to the horrors of Roman slavery.

It was well over 100 degrees as we moved around Masada. But a brave group of souls decided that they were going to hike up the snake path rather than take the gondola to the top. And they made it! For the rest of us … it was a trial just to keep up with our guide Hillel as he energetically moved from place to place explaining to us about the palace, the water systems, the amazing beauty that was Masada at one time. For well over an hour he walked and talked with energy and passion about this place. Clearly our guide has very strong feelings for this place … And only once did I see him take a drink of water. That in itself was quite a feat!

One thing has become clear, Herod was a very, very powerful king in this time. Almost everything we explored in Jerusalem and now here at Masada was of his doing. It took a man of great power (certainly brutal power) to create such awesome structures around the country.

After refreshing ourselves in the gift shop and buying a few souvenirs, it was off to the dead sea where we spent the rest of the day. It is still an incredible feeling to float in this water that’s salt content is so high that you can’t sink.




Many covered their bodies with therapeutic mud and then went into the sea. We picked up salt balls from the bottom of the sea. Because of the high salt content, you can only stay in for brief periods of time as the salt draws the water out of your body and you can become dehydrated even as you float in the water.




The sea itself has shrunk greatly. Due to increasing water needs in Israel the water from the Jordan river no longer supplies enough water to replenish the Dead Sea. It has shrunk dramatically over the years. But, it is so important economically to both Israel and Jordan that they are trying to find ways to supply more water to the sea.

Finally, after a relaxing time at the Dead Sea we headed off towards Eilat. It is a two hour drive south through rather dramatic desert to Eilat. On the way we stopped for refreshments at Kibbut Yotvata … the dairy supplier to a great deal of Israel. This Kibbutz is the story of a growing number of Kibbutzim in Israel. It had started off as the collective that all kibbutzim are/were … but in recent years a wealthy German/Jewish businessman bought the dairy business. So, now, all the members of the kibbutz work for this man’s company.

In any case, they have great dairy products … and we enjoyed their ice cream and great milk shakes.

Then it was on to our hotel in Eilat.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

 
Shabbat and Day 6:

Hi all ... trying to catch up. So I am uploading without pictures. (If you have been keeping track, we lost our camera in a taxi in Jerusalem ... so I am relying on others pictures.) I have added one picture of a wonderful memorial to Januz Korzak (sp?) the doctor who took care of and died with 'his' many children.

So check back here later ... I will have some wonderful pictures to add here later in the day (or afternoon or evening or whatever it is where you are!)

b'Shalom, R.Lutz

Shabbat offered the opportunity for some much needed r & r. Some slept in, some joined with many other liberal Jews at four different services held at the Hebrew Union College. Debbie and I were honored with an aliyah for our 21st anniversary (7 x 3 it was noted … a very auspicious number.) It was good to be back at HUC in Jerusalem and to see so many colleagues who were also in Jerusalem.

In the afternoon we toured David’s Citadel and some of the Christian quarter of the old city. We strolled around the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Jesus was said to have been crucified. It is, perhaps the most holy site in all of Christendom.

Afterwards we had a great time searching and bartering for bargains on the streets of the Christian quarter. Later we would discover that some of the bargains weren’t so much … but it didn’t matter, the extra dollar or two was worth the fun and adventure. Here is a picture of us all outside the old city with our prizes. Joel Lowell is giving his new Shofar a try.

That evening, believe it or not, we traveled to east Jerusalem, to an Arab restaurant called Philadelphia. It was great fun, quite tasty and as always way, way too much food. We shared in many different Arab salads, shish kabobs of chicken and beef and baklava. Then we sang happy birthday to a young Arab woman sitting at the next table who then insisted that we share in their cake. Not wanting to insult anyone … we obliged.

Following dinner we celebrated a windy Havdalah on Har Hatzofim (the campus of the Hebrew University) – overlooking the lights of the old city. On the way down the hill we joined in an emotional rendition of Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold) and listened to an adaptation of Psalm 122, a prayer for the peace of Jerusalem.

Then it was off to Ben Yehudah Street for some last minute Jerusalem shopping.

Tomorrow we leave Jerusalem for the south.

Monday, July 10, 2006

 

Day 5: Emotions run deep




Day 5: Emotions run strong and deep today.

The fullness of each day is making it harder and harder to keep up … but I am trying my best! I write this from Eilat, where we arrived last night after a long day of travel. So, now, let me return to Shabbat.

Friday, our first full week of touring begins to come to a close with an emotional day at Yad v’Shem, the national memorial to the Shoah. There is no more moving testimony to the plight of the six million of our people who lost their lives than this magnificent place. (Yes, the D.C. museum is wonderful … but there is nothing comparable to Yad v’Shem.)

Our visit began with a walk down the aisle of righteous gentiles: those non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews – not because they were Jewish – but because they were fellow human beings in need. We stood just below the tree dedicated to Oscar Schindler and his wife as we listened to our tour guide describe the heroism of so many other like Schindler. As you know, the right of return allows any Jew to claim citizenship in Israel simply by declaring their intention to do so.

We then entered a breath taking memorial to all the children who lost their lives in the Holocaust. It is impossible to adequately describe this moving remembrance but, imagine entering a darkened room and being immediately surrounded by the reflections of over one million candles, above you, below you and around you on every side. I could not help but think of the words of Hannah Senesh who wrote: “there are stars whose light continues to shine although they no longer exist …”

Next came a tour of the museum – always a difficult and emotional journey, leaving everyone moved and drained. Interestingly enough as many concluded their walk through the exhibit, their was a spontaneous desire to say kaddish ….

Which is exactly what we did at the Valley of the Communities … This outdoor memorial is a bit off the beaten track, but well worth finding. It is another stunning monument to the 5000 communities destroyed in the Shoah. It is a massive maze of Jerusalem stone, constructed in the manner of the Western Wall. A towering complex of walls of Jerusalem limestone in which are inscribed the names of the many many communities, large cities and the smallest villages, whose Jewish communities were destroyed by the Shoah. Often to find your community you must go to the information desk, where the name is typed into the computer and then located on a map.

In such a way we found the city of ‘our’ Holocaust Torah: Kolin. It is on wall 79. We journeyed through the maze until we found the wall. There we joined together in a beautiful ceremony led by Evan Lowell, who will become Bar Mitzvah next January. He read to us from Hannah Senesh, the Israeli soldier and poet who was killed behind the German lines. Then Evan invited up each of our own children to read the name of a child from Kolin who had perished and to light a yahrzeit candle in their name.

And then, together, we recited kaddish.

Then, from rememberance to life. We headed off to machaneh yehudah to join the local crowd preparing for Shabbat. There we strolled past vendor after vendor offering fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts, yummy challahs and baked goods. We bought (Lila really bought!) we noshed and we enjoyed.

I loved this picture of a typical Israeli scene. A young soldier, on her day off perhaps, strolling the market with her 'best friend' in tow.









Later we joined together as a community to welcome Shabbat with songs and reflections of our first few days. Then it was off to the wall to experience Shabbat as it can only be experienced here among the many variety of 'strummels' (fur hats), and silk robes. Something I hope you can all experience sometime in your life.

Hope you had a great Shabbat.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

 

Day 4

Day 4:

Hi everyone. Sorry for the delay. We had a mishap with our camera ... left in a cab ... so we have been busy collecting pictures to include here. We hope that you are enjoying our travel log. We are certainly enjoying your responses. Spread the word! We would love to hear from more of you.

Our day started with a fantastic tour of the Davidson center. This is an archaelogical institute uncovering the mysteries of the Temple mount and the ancient city of Jerusalem. From their finds they have reconstructed an image of what ancient Jerusalem looked like … and especially, the awe inspiring grandeur of the ancient Temple. Through a computer animation (created with the help of software from UCLA – go Bruins!) we were able to travel back in time and understand just how awesome it must have been to travel to this place and encounter the Temple. If it had not been destroyed, it would truly be one of the wonders of the world today … beautiful, massive and totally impressive in every way.

While we were there a group was having a Thursday morning service. As we walked past them we encountered the Zev family from our community, traveling here with their parents who belong to Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills. We stopped to say hello to Rabbi Vogel and our Valley neighbors. It was just another of those wild Jerusalem encounter experiences.

From Jerusalem we journeyed to Latrun. For those of you who know the story of the struggle for Independence, this was a key strategic position on the road to Jerusalem. From the fortress on this hill an army could control all movement towards Jerusalem. Unfortunately it was controlled by the Arab Legions. Three times the newly born Israeli army tried to conquer Latrun. Three times they were defeated. On the hills below many young men died. Some were nameless heros who had just arrived to Israel from the horror of Europe. They had two weeks of training and were handed a gun. They could not even really speak the language. Sometimes, no one even knew their name. They had survived the Holocaust and gave their lives in the struggle for the Jewish state.

Today the location celebrates the powerful Israeli tank forces. While we were there hundreds of soldiers were there as well preparing for their graduation from training. We watched hundreds of young men and women going through their paces.

It was so striking: We know intellectually the ages of our soldiers. But, it is not until you see them in person that it really strikes you just how young they are. Yes, they are men and women, but just barely. In their young faces I saw the faces of my own 20 and 17 year old boys. If I lived here one would be in the army and the other preparing to go. There they were barely out of high school, carrying weapons, driving massive, destructive vehicles. These are the kids defending Israel, entering Gaza even as we visited Latrun. And it is these faces, American faces, that are in Iraq as well.

Latrun today is filled with tanks, from the first tiny tin can looking thing to the very sophisticated weapons of today’s army. The kids had a great time climbing all over them, having their pictures taken with the soldiers, and buying lots of Israeli army souvenir t-shirts and hats.

Diversity: As we were leaving a large group of black children were entering the compound; the children of Ethiopian Jews, who are now citizens of Israel. It was wonderful to see them and a reminder of the wonderful diversity of the Jewish people. From the religious Asian Jew I met in the old city, to the Indian soldier that gave me directions, one of the amazing realizations here is that your waiter, your bus driver, your banker, your whatever … are almost all Jewish! Not just your lawyer and your doctor and your C.P.A. …. Again, we all know this, but somehow it is more striking when you actually encounter it.


After leaving Latrun it was time to find a place for lunch. And where else to go besides to the mall? Yep thats what we did. And while most of us chose more traditional Israeli fair, shwarma, felafel and pizza (?) Some took advantage of the Kosher Golden Arches.


Finally, we spent the rest of the day exploring the ancient Roman ruins of the ancient port city of Caesaria. The kids enjoyed the beach, while most of the adult enjoyed a drink on the boardwalk and enjoyed this beautiful place. Today, Caesaria is the most expensive real estate in the country. It has the only golf course which looked very enticing to some of us!

Before heading to this Herodian port and enjoying the beautiful Mediterranean, we climbed through an underground Roman aqueduct, built to bring water from the hills down the many miles towards their port city. The kids loved walking the aqueduct, sometimes through water two and half feet deep. You can’t help but be amazed by the wonder of the ancient engineering and architecture. Just how did they do all of this? It is truly a wonder.

Finally, it was back to Jerusalem … an hour and a half drive, speeded up by our use of the new, privately built, toll road. To travel from one end to the other can cost fifty dollars. The road travels for much of the way along the green line separating the west bank from Israel proper. On the left of the highway we often found ourselves looking at the security wall that is the cause of so much controversy. Behind it Arab villages, some we are told, very hostile to the state. While across the highway, on the right, are Israeli home and towns.

But, even though it was late, the day was far from over. Many of us headed to Ben Yehuda Street where the night life was just getting started. We ate dinner and hung out ‘til the early hours of the morning. And as we left, exhausted from another full day (the reason this blog is a little late in arriving!) the place was still buzzing, filled with young Israelis enjoying the beautiful summer weather in Jerusalem.

Day 5: A Roller Coaster of Emotions .

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