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A Jam-Packed First Day in Israel

We had a great first day here in Jerusalem! After we departed from the temple, we headed to the airport where we started our long journey to the Holy Land. After countless security checks and a voyage that felt way longer than it probably was, we made it in one piece. We took the bus to the incredible and colorful Abraham Hostel and settled down before heading out to eat. Seeing the nearly deserted streets on a Friday night in Jerusalem was eye-opening, it demonstrated to us just how many people celebrate shabbat. After dinner, we settled back in at the hotel looking forward to our next adventure.

We woke up bright and early Saturday morning to have breakfast and head to Masada. After a 45-minute drive we arrived at the mountain and took the cable to the top. Our tour guide Bar explained the history of Masada which was very interesting and informative. After an hour or so we headed back down the mountain and to the Dead Sea.

Our time at the Dead Sea, while somewhat short, was awesome. We got to effortlessly float in the salty water, cover ourselves with mud, and of course take loads of photos. Next, we headed to a lookout in the Judean Desert for a gourmet Israeli lunch. We were joined by a former lone soldier, born and raised in Brookline, who told us about her adventures living in Israel. She moved to Israel when she was 17 and served in the military for 3 years. She now spends her time at school and working with various organizations in the hopes to close the gap between Israelis and Palestinians. I think it’s safe to say that everyone was really inspired by her story and found it was amazing that she grew up in an environment just like ours.

Thankfully after this jam-packed day we were able to have a couple hours of down time before heading to dinner. At the restaurant we taught our tour guide Bar as much American slang as we knew and then he taught us a thing or two about Hebrew slang. After our yummy meal, we got to walk up and down Ben Yehuda Street and do some shopping. We finished off the night with some birthday ice cream, celebrating Jacob’s 16th, and then headed back to the hostel for some much-needed sleep.

- Sam and Emma

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