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Israel 2022 – Day 4-5: Evan Sussman & Zach Smith

These past two days were a blast! On Friday, we left our hotel by the Kineret and headed to a kibbutz called Sde Eliyahu. There, we learned how they farmed by using organic technology and other techniques to help make farming safer and more effective with some genetically engineered animals like bees and special male mosquitos that can’t reproduce. When we left the Kibbutz, we had a “shopportunity” to buy snacks for our room for Shabbat. The store was in Beit She’an, so our our driver, Muchi, was nice enough to stop at a Beit She’an sign so that we could all get a picture in our sister city.

After the kibbutz, we got back on the road and headed toward Sachne, which is a natural spring where we would get to swim. It was a good thing that we were swimming, because we also experienced our first Israeli heatwave. At Sachne, while Rabbi Ben and some of the other chaperones grilled for us, we had an awesome surprise — Dvir came and met up with us! He will be staying with us until Thursday. We had another amazing treat at Sachne. Our madrich brought in one of his friends who is a Bedouin IDF soldier, which is unique as it is, but this particular solider was actually one of the Bedouin trackers who captured 6 terrorists who escaped from prison!

After Sachne, we headed to our hotel in the Old City of Akko and started to get ready for Shabbat. At the hotel, we had yet ANOTHER surprise. When we walked into the lobby of the hotel, Ilan Amkraut and Jacob Rudin-Luria were there because coincidentally, their gap year program was staying at the same hotel! Before Shabbat came, we handed over our phones and then had a really nice Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner. During Shabbat, we got to know a lot of the other kids better.

On Shabbat we got to sleep in! We’ve been waking up at 6:30 every morning, so sleeping until 8:30 felt incredible! Once we did get up we had Shacharit service with Torah reading. After that, we toured the old city of Akko and saw the tunnels that the crusaders used to help bring food from outside the city walls when the city was under siege. Yoav explained that until 2004, there was housing there, and a regular lady had a plumbing problem in her house and when they looked into it, they found an entire section of tunnels that hadn’t been discovered! It’s crazy that an entire section of the tunnels was found only 18 years ago. After that we headed back to the hotel and had free time.

We knew that some of the other kids were having visitors, but we didn’t know we were getting a visitor, too! Unknown to us, Geveret Maoz came to visit us!! She brought Maya, Yair, Sharona, and lots of snacks for us! We caught up with her and then we went to go get ready for our mincha service followed by dinner and a quick Havdalah.

After Havdalah, we packed up and headed to a mall for an evening out to celebrate Evan’s birthday as our GSDS class (plus Jethro)!!! We got candy (thanks to the Israel fundraising) and Evan got some gifts.