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Israel 2024 – May 15: Avery Milota

We started off May 15 bright and early with the roosters waking us up in the not-so-comfy Bedouin tents. We had a cat-free breakfast and got on the bus to head to Masada! We were all super tired so Hillary taught us a new song on the bus to try to keep us awake. If you’re in Cleveland and you want to know what the song is, you can ask Rabbi Ben to sing it for you. 

We started hiking up Masada and it took about 20 mins. Once we reached the top we had a meaningful tefillah and saw the beautiful view נוף יפה! While we were on Masada, we did some exploring. One of the buildings we explored on Masada was so cool to see because you could still see remains of floor tile and wall paper. We took the snake path down Masada, which was very challenging. It took about an hour and I was soooo tired. 

Our bus driver, Avi, was waiting for us with Ms. Henkin and we headed to the Dead Sea. They could tell we were all very hot and very exhausted so Avi was nice enough to bend the rules and let us have a snack on the bus since we had a bit of a longer drive ahead of us. 

While we were driving to the Dead Sea, we started to notice a ton of huge trucks and a lot of police presence. Our guide, Hillary, explained to us that we were close to the Allenby Crossing, which is a route that Jordan uses to get humanitarian aid to Gaza. The aid was escorted by police so that it will hopefully get into the hands of the Gaza civilians who need it and not the terrorists who steal it. It was really interesting to get to see first hand the way Israel is coordinating aid. 

Then we finally got to another trip highlight: the Dead Sea. We all had so much fun at the Dead Sea! We lathered ourselves with mud and had fun floating in the water. Thankfully, it didn’t happen to me! (Alumni who have had Hillary as a guide know what I’m talking about!) After rinsing off the mud,  we went in the pool for a little bit and had chicken fights which was so fun! 

We had a nice drive to Jerusalem and those who have never seen the city before got a surprise view of it! It was my first time seeing Jerusalem and it was so cool to see! We had closed all of the curtains on the bus and we were guided off the bus with our eyes closed by a friend who has seen Jerusalem before. For those of us who hadn’t been to Jerusalem before, we were surprised to see how big and just gorgeous the city is. Hillary taught us that there is a law that you can only build using Jerusalem stone for the aesthetic. 

We got to the hotel and got ready for Ben Yehuda street! It was super chilly outside so we had to bring out our Cleveland/New Jersey gear 🥶. For dinner we ate giant bowls of pasta and had had קצפת which is an ice cream, crepe, frozen yogurt, everything sweet place! Finally, after an active and exhausting day, we said good night and went to bed in comfy beds!

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