Monday, December 19, 2011
Shalom from Jaffa!
Shalom from Jaffa, Israel! After traveling for about a day and a half, we are finally settled in the Holy Land. We all made it into Israel successfully, which we were very happy about. We were greeted by a Diller staff person holding a Diller banner, followed by a group of soldiers and camera men singing Israeli songs to a Birthright group, thinking we were that group! We graciously accepted the lovely welcome and met our tour guide for the next 5 days, Meirav. Meirav used to be a Diller coordinator for the Upper Galilee, and currently she supervises the Upper Galilee group and guides mostly Latin American groups. She is also expecting a second baby! We met our medic, Orel; she is very excited to be with our group. Our bus driver seems great too.
We stepped into the unusually warm Tel Aviv air, and drove straight to Jaffa. Sierra and Yitzhak led our group in an opening ceremony, filled with blessings, grape juice, and the biggest challah we ever saw. Sierra and Yitzhak had the group write a letter to themselves about their feelings as they arrived to this seminar in Israel. The letters will be returned at the end of the trip. After choosing our “Hanukkah Harry” matches for the first day of Hanukkah tomorrow, we went back to the Rut Daniel hostel and had a delicious dinner. Aaron Krauss helped guide us with some logistical updates for today and tomorrow, fulfilling his “Leader of the Day” role. The night ended early with a very short Maagal Lila reflection on our experiences so far, which peopled described as “moving,” “unbelievable,” “happy,” “tiring,” and more. We are all exhausted and are off to bed. Tomorrow we get to wake up a BIT later than usual, followed by a very full day in Tel Aviv. Lila Tov!