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Israel 2022 – Day 2: Maksim Abramov

Yesterday was day 2 in Israel! It’s hard to say which part was my favorite of the day, because we did SO much.

We stated our morning bike riding for 4.5 miles at Agmon Hahula, which is one of the biggest bird migration places in the world. Along the bike ride, we stopped at many places to see fish, ducks, birds, and my personal favorite: the donkeys.

After the bike ride, we went rafting down the Jordan River. As we went down the river, we found a lot of things people lost in the river like Crocs and a pineapple shaped floaty. I wanted to keep the floaty, but the people at the rafting place wouldn’t let me.

After rafting we went to De Karina chocolate factory where we taste tested chocolate and made our own chocolate bars. We could choose different kinds of chocolate and fillings like caramel, sprinkles, nuts, or coconut. When we were done, they put our custom chocolates into a flash freezer so we could enjoy them later… I don’t know if any of that chocolate will make it back home!

When we left the chocolate factory, we headed to Mt. Ben Tal where our tour guide, Yoav, pointed out the boarders to Syria, which were basically within reach. He explained to us a little bit about the history of the place and then we got to explore some of the bunkers that were there and had a fun time posing with the statues of metal soldiers.

Finally, at the end of the day we gathered as a group to start Yom HaShoah. Our madricha, Adva, played guitar and we sang some songs like Hallelujah and then students from one of the other schools talked about their experience interviewing Holocaust survivors to record their stories for video. Yoav told us that his dad is a Holocaust survivor, but was only about a year old when he was on the train to Auschwitz right before the end of the war, so even though he’s a survivor, he can’t provide a story because he’s too young. It’s so important for us to remember the millions of people who died and to continue telling their stories. It was a really meaningful Tekes (ceremony), and I’m glad I got to experience it in Israel.