Sunday, February 5, 2012

KSA Israel: The Desert

We got an early start this morning and thus continued the wonderful growth of our group as we were up, packed, cleaned up, satiated and out of our hotel.  The kids were amazing, working together as a group to load the bus and to be sure that everyone in the group was feeling included and a part of the community.

Our first stop was at the grave of Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.  We had a beautiful tefilah overlooking the Negev--hearing our kids voices and taking in the fantastic panoramic views around us made for a very spiritual moment in time.  The highlight was each person's individual Amidah, where we left the group to find out own personal space to daven, reflect, and stand alone, yet very much together.  What a spiritual treat and a great opportunity to enjoy nature.

Following our lesson about Ben Gurion's vision, we went for camel rides!  A highlight for everyone to be sure and many stories that our kids will be able to tell about how they got to know their camels, each one with a name and personality traits by the time the rides were done.

And then, it was on to another highlight--I guess it is a day of highlights, when we had our first supermarket lunch.  You might be wondering what is so special about a supermarket lunch, so let me share: it begins with fresh baked pita.  If you've eaten it right out of the oven, you know that is a treat unto itself!  But add hummus, chocolate spread, white chocolate spread, Israeli cheese, Israeli pickles, cucumbers, tomatoes, potato chips and some shoko b'sakit (chocolate milk in a bag) and you've got what several kids termed, "the best meal they have had since arriving in Israel!"  It is so exciting to see our kids enjoy these special Israeli foods!

From there, we drove to Machtesh Ramon, where we enjoyed an almost two hour jeep ride through the crater.  It was bumpy, but filled with a lot of fun and a great landscape.  By now, as you can imagine, the kids are exhausted and many fell asleep on the bus to Kibbutz Lotan, a ecological kibbutz that is affiliated with the Reform movement.  We enjoyed dinner and now everyone is in for an early bedtime, as many are planning to wake up in a few hours to watch the Superbowl!  Many are wearing their Patriot's shirts and jerseys and are excited to wake up to hopefully see a victory for our team!

So all in all, a really great day and we are looking forward to a fun night and an exciting day at Timna tomorrow as we continue our trek throughout the south. Did I mention that we have internet access here in the middle of the desert?

To enjoy today's video, click here.

From deep in the Negev and rooting for the PATS!,

Marc Medwed
Head of School

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