Shabbat Shalom Camp Eisner!
The big news this past week is that we finally made it to Jerusalem! After a week in Europe and a week in the desert, we made our way north into the capital, first seeing the city after being blindfolded on the bus and then led out onto the promenade overlooking in the city – it was pretty amazing to suddenly see the entire city of Jerusalem in front of us! We of course said the Shehecheyanu since it was the first time we were all seeing Jerusalem together as a group.
It was a really interesting time to tour in the Old City, because Tisha b’Av happened this past week. Tisha b’Av is a day to mourn the destruction of the Temple, and here we were, standing right in front of the Western Wall! We put notes in the wall, got to see some of the Southern wall archaeological excavations and had a very dark and wet walk through Hezekiah’s Water Tunnel in the City of David.
Of course, Jerusalem wasn’t all we saw this week – we also took a trip to Tel Gezer, one of Israel’s oldest sites and a place where 17 different civilizations have lived. We then went to Beit Guvrin where we got to be archaeologists for a day, finding all kinds of pieces of 2,500-year-old pottery. There is also a 2,000-year-old Columbarium that was used to house pigeons underground. Amazingly, we’re pretty sure it still smells like all the birds are still there.
Then, we hiked one of Israel’s most famous sites – Masada. We woke up at 4am so we could climb to the top before the sun rose and it would be too hot to hike – what a sun rise from the top! We could see the Dead Sea spread out before us and decided taking a dip (or in this case, a float) would be a good idea. Did you know that the Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth? It is also one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, which we can definitely confirm.
Yesterday, we headed North to see Tzippori, a beautiful, mosaic-filled synagogue in the Galilee, and next week we’ll start chavaya! We’ll be split up into four groups: Gadna (army training), Tikkun Olam (social justice), Yam l’Yam (hiking from the Kinneret to the Mediterranean) and archaeology, which means that some of us will actually help excavate at a dig in a place called Magdala.
That’s all for now, Eisner! (And just so you know, we were so sad to miss tie-dye day on Tuesday that we all wore ours here!) Wishing you a peaceful Shabbat from Israel,
Groups 8b and 8c