Today we did the usual frenzied touring but with the benefit of a good night’s sleep. Consequently we were able to get to know each other a bit better. Ours is a group made up of very unique individuals of course but as a group our participants represent the ideal birthright israel demographic. By this I mean that they may identify as Conservative, Reform or whatever Jews, but for the most part they remain unaffiliated. The labels represent their parents religious affiliation but it does not represent their practice. Some have had Jewish Day School education, most of which ended after their Bar or Bat Mitzvahs and some have gone to Jewish camps. As adults however, there is little in their daily lives that identifies them as Jews. Many have expressed that their desire to go to Israel was based on some level of interest in reacquainting themselves with their Jewish identities. We’ll see how that goes I suppose!
Anyhow… we started the day in Haifa where we visited the Bahai Temple and gardens.
Kudos to Laya for figuring out a unique way of photographing a much photographed place!
After some ice breakers, we went to Acco where we checked out the fantastic crusader fortress as well as the old bath house, market and mosque. I hadn’t been to Acco in years and I guess I forgot how picturesque this historically important city was. Our Oranim tour guide Yael also did a great job getting us there and telling us about its history and significance. The next leg of the day’s activitiess saw us in Safed, the capital city of real Kabbalah. We visited the famous synagogues and the artists’ quarter and I for one was pleased to see that the city had bounced back well after this summer’s Katyusha attacks. We went into a candle shop where I saw Harry Potter Havdala candles. So wrong… Well at least there was this really spectacular sunset… We then went for a dip in some hot springs and repaired to Kibbutz Ein gev by the Kinneret for the night. Tomorrow we go to the Banyas for a hike! Yaaay! Don’t you wish you were here with us?