On Sunday morning, the 8th grade arrived at Ezra Academy, eager to experience the trip of a lifetime. After a bagel breakfast, we boarded a bus, and headed to the airport in Newark, New Jersey. Our plane took off at about 1:30 in the afternoon, and although none of us got much sleep, we enjoyed the ten hour ride. The sun went down as we made our way over the Atlantic Ocean. Looking out the windows as we went over Europe, all we could see was pitch black. But as we crossed the Mediterranean Sea, the sun began to rise, sending orange and pink rays across the horizon, just in time to illuminate the shores of Israel. Just before 7 a.m., we landed in Tel Aviv. For most of us, this was our first time in Israel, and the landing was such a wonderfully satisfying moment; we had been waiting our entire lives to visit our homeland.
Our first stop in our home away from home was the beach at Rishon L’tzion. After a meaningful tefillah with our feet in the sand, we all went wading into the Mediterranean. Can we get a “Hoy-Yah!?” Our educator, Yonit, told a story and taught us the following phrase, “Ani yehudi m’eretz yisrael.”
Another short bus ride brought us to Dig for a Day in Bet Guvrin. After trekking into the earth that was dug out approximately 2000 years ago we had the opportunity to dig and find pottery shards and bones. These items will be tested and used to learn more about the early Jewish settlers and Edomite tribes in the area. Many of us REALLY enjoyed a second walk, crawl, slide through narrow caves. This was amazing because it tested our own limits and also ended up being a team building activity.
Wow! In the middle of what used to be desert, there is an amazing place called Shvil HaSalat. We harvested four colors of carrots and picked tomatoes from the vine. Did you know that Israel invented the cherry tomato? We learned about strawberries growing suspended in the air and smelled Nana and hyssop growing in the herb garden. Then we learned about homing pigeons and released a group of them! check out the pictures to see who came to visit us!
Finally we arrived at our Kibbutz; showered (whew!); ate dinner (yum!); had orientation (rules); and exchanged our “Welcome to Israel gifts.” At bedtime we all received our letters from home.
Looking forward to another amazing day tomorrow!
Layla Tov (Good Night),
Sophia, Marcy, Amalya and the 8th Graders