Today was our first official full day in Israel. We woke up bright and early and had a strangely healthy breakfast of salad at Hotel Tzuba. We then took the bus over to a lookout over the Old City of Jerusalem were we met up with two other birthright groups: UVA and GW. We performed the Shehecheyanu in honor of our first day and then danced to a drum circle outside the Old City with shofars. After a plethora of photos, we got back on the bus and entered the Old City.
We walked and talked through the busy streets and learned so much about Jerusalem’s history from our tour guide, Dana. We went through an old Roman market and past many beautiful murals before we reached the Western Wall were I, and everyone else, placed a note that was meaningful to us. We then headed back to the bus while passing gorgeous scenery. We drove to the famous Jerusalem market, Mechane Yehuda. We split up into smaller groups and ventured through the market. It was one of the craziest and crowded places I’ve ever been, and I’ve been to a VT football game! I tried the most amazing chicken shwarma and then trekked through the alleys looking for souvenirs.
We meet back up at the bus and had a fun drive back were we introduced the Israelis to Take me Home, Country Roads by John Denver. We then had some free time before meeting up for our Shabbat services and then had a discussion on what Shabbat means to us, as individuals. Afterwards, we introduced another important aspect of America culture to the Israelis, VINE. We all laughed and bonded before heading to Shabbat dinner where we sat with the Tulane/UCONN Birthright group. We met up one last time to go over a bonding experience about our own kibbutz ideas and shared famous Israeli candies and deserts before heading to bed.
- Sydney Lewis
Today we spent the day in the city of Jerusalem. In the morning we said the Shehecheyanu prayer, ate challah, drank grape juice and danced as a group. We then drove to the Old City and learned about the multiple destructions of the temple and proceeded to visit the Western Wall. We placed personal notes into the wall, said personal prayers and of course took lots of pictures! It was very interesting to learn about all of the different religions that reside in Jerusalem. After we went to the shuk to shop and eat lunch, we then headed back to Kibbutz Tzuba for Kabbalat Shabbat. It was really fun spending Shabbat with the group and having Shabbat dinner together.
- Roneet Dardashti
This was our first official day and it was spent in the amazing city of Jerusalem. We saw the Western Wall and saw a very nice overlook and view of the whole city with the UVA and George Washington Birthright groups. After the Wall we celebrated Shabbat with a service and a dinner following. After dinner we had some free time and the AEPI brothers met up with Max Frischman who is a VT alum and AEPI brother who recently made Aliyah to Israel. We had such a great day and enjoyed walking around Jerusalem.
- Jake Freeman