Check out their adventures below.
Day One-Tel Aviv
Linda Novak reflects on her first day in Israel: What a day! After a long flight, our group of 11 tired, but excited chavarim (friends) landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Our tour guide met us and outlined our plan for the day. First stop – the old city of Jaffa. Following a short bus trip we stepped out onto an area near the Mediterranean Sea which was full of historical significance. We saw centuries old buildings made of sandstone, the port of Jaffa from which sailors and cargo of many nations came and went for thousands of years. It was thrilling to think that we were walking the same paths that citizens walked centuries ago. We then moved on to the more modern area with good food and a large flea market. After this our exhausted group went back to the hotel to rest for a few hours before meeting for dinner. Two more members of our intrepid group joined us, so we now number 13. We then went to a fantastic restaurant, Maganda, in the Yemeni Quarter of South Tel Aviv. The many-coursed dinner was followed by lively conversation. All in all, it was an inspiring day which makes each of us eager to see more of the beautiful land and continue our lovely adventure. #TempleIsraelinIsrael
Day Two-Tel Aviv and a visit with Rabbi Emeritus David Sofian
Day Three-Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the Old City of Jaffa
A reflection on preparing for and beginning to experience Shabbat in Israel from Jerry Kuhr: The day began with an hour long discussion with Paul Liptz of Tel Aviv University who spoke of the various ethnic groups that make up the country. Following the discussion we went for an historic and architectural tour of Rothschild Boulevard, one of the first streets in Tel Aviv, where we learned about the two main architectural styles, Bauhaus and eclectic. We then proceeded to the Levinsky Market for the shop and taste tour. We enjoyed many new and exciting tastes. Next, we toured an open market called Carmel where we explored the stalls for a pre-Shabbat shopping experience. It was full of people and high energy and I enjoyed the excitement and being a part of it. We went back to the hotel for a short rest before heading out for Kabbalat Shabbat services at Kehillat Yozma in Mod’in, a relatively new city between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The atmosphere was uplifting and the congregation very friendly. The musicians and guest artist for the evening’s service added to the enjoyment. The night was topped off by a typical Shabbat dinner at the home of one of the congregants. From the backyard of our host family’s home, we could see the lights of Tel Aviv. Our hosts were very gracious and answered our questions while also sharing experiences of their daily lives in Israel. The meal was healthy and delicious and was over far too quickly. A big thank you to Kehillat Yozma for a beautiful service and to all of the host families for providing an unforgettable evening for these tourists from Dayton.#TempleIsraelinIsrael
Day Four-Cawsarea, Ikko and the Lebanese Border
Our Israel trip cohort is a diverse group, including friends of some of our members who are of different faiths. Here is a reflection from one of those friends: On our free Saturday – Day 3 of our trip – five of us signed up for a “Biblical Highlights of the Galilee” tour. What a wonderfully memorable 10 hour adventure it was! Our first stop was in Nazareth, where it is said Jesus spent his childhood. There we toured the Church of Annunciation and the Church of St. Joseph. We then continued a very picturesque drive in the lower Galilee through Kana, Tiberias to Tabgha, site of the Jesus’ Miracle of Fish and Loaves. Further along the Sea of Galilee we visited Capernaum and its ancient ruins of the synagogue where Jesus taught. After a lovely lunch at St. Peter’s Restaurant we circled southward to Yardenit, the famous Baptismal Site where the Jordan River flows out of the Sea of Galilee towards the Dead Sea. We actually witnessed the baptism of some visitors. It was such a wonderful day and time well spent!
A reflection on northern Israel from Diane Schreer, mother of Temple member, Adriane Miller: After another fantastic breakfast, it was time to depart Tel Aviv and head north. We stopped at Caesarea and sat in the ancient theatre (not an amphitheater.) We walked along the pristine beaches; even getting a chance for a few of us to put our feet in the Mediterranean Sea! We arrived in a Druze village in the Carmel Mountains where we were given a home hospitality lunch. Our guide shared his background about the Druze religion and emphasized the strong support they have for the Israel, including fighting in the Israeli Army! Next stop was Akko (Acre) a UNESCO Heritage site. Feelings of awe as you descend into the depths. You are actually touching strata from B.C.E. and each layer represents a different religion. The archaeological teams have unearthed and preserved each one meticulously. An archaeologist’s dream is discovering an artifact that includes a date and a name. Our guide said half a dozen years ago people were peering into an opening three stories ABOVE where we were standing and walking today! We then entered one of the largest Mosques in Israel, after the women have donned a scarf over their head. At the end of the day, our bus took one exhausted group to Upper Galilei where we collapsed into the Kibbutz Hotel and had dinner. Lilah Tov!
Day Six Serenity and Security on the Golan
Reflections on the people, serenity and security in the Golan Heights from Pat Corle, mother of Temple member, Tiffany Law Lobertini:
A beautiful green quiet land and friendly, caring people going about their days enjoying family and friends, on the outside. These people/neighbors are a mixture of religions and ethnic makeups. Finding a way to work and live in a complex political world. These Israeli people claim Israel as their home and find a way to live peacefully with different beliefs, now because they are free to do so because of the secured borders. They know those borders could be threatened by countries surrounding them deciding to attack them and even take their lives. Think about living in FEAR daily knowing that someone wants to destroy you and your family just for being different. Could you live next door or down the street with fear in your heart? It takes a great deal of courage and resilience to hold onto your way of life and beliefs, knowing tomorrow may be that day you lose it all and have to fight for your family’s safety.