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Israel 2024 – May 14: Yom Ha’Atzmaut – Miriam Shapiro

On May 14, we started the day with tefillah and a delicious breakfast at kibbutz Mashabei Sade. After that we loaded the bus with all of our bags and headed to Ein Avdat for a beautiful but challenging hike. 

Since it was still Yom Ha’Atzmaut we had a very Israeli barbecue and played on some playgrounds. We went on a short bus ride to a beautiful overlook of the desert and talked about the past few days and how we’ve been feeling. Everyone said really interesting ideas on what it’s been like to be here on Yom HaZikaron, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut in this very different year. Our observations ranged from personal things to more spiritual. There were a few things that really stuck out to me. Simone, a student from KBA, talked about how after our hike she realized that we can do hard things! Mr. Kleinman talked about how when you’re in Israel, you gain a new soul. Isabella talked about how incredible it is that people have made beautiful lives for themselves in Israel. I shared how it’s crazy to think about the fact that Israel has been here forever; it’s not just here for me. It’s  been here long before I ever existed and it will be something that continues to be meaningful to people long after I’m gone. 

After our meaningful conversation we headed to the Bedouin tents! We settled into our tent and got a little tour of the camp site.  

Then we headed to something we had all been looking forward to: camel riding! It was a little scary — especially when the camels stood up and got down — but overall so much fun! There was a gorgeous view and the weather was perfect! 

After our amazing camel rides we went to the Bedouin hospitality and Odai, our host taught us all about what it’s like to be a Bedouin and their culture. They served us the most delicious tea ever and made some amazing music with the coffee grinder.

We went to dinner and we were greeted with lots of cats roaming around. We only realized how these cats would become a problem when we started eating, and they decided they wanted to eat with us. They climbed onto our table and successfully ate some of our food. Even Avery couldn’t convince the cats to leave us alone! 

Once we finally finished a cat-free dinner, we headed back to our tent and had a super fun camp fire, we played truth or dare, made smores, and played a super fun song game. We also ran into a fellow Clevelander! Isabella and I both knew him from Playmakers camp because he was a counselor and Ms. Henkin is friends with him! He happens to be staffing a birthright trip and got lost at the Bedouin tents and somehow wandered into ours. It was a crazy only in Israel type of coincidence. 

Overall we had an amazing, fun filled day! I can’t wait to see what the rest of our Israel trip has in store for us!

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