Sunday, July 10, 2016

Our First Days!

By: Noah and Sarah

Israel Summer Seminar has finally arrived! We took an hour long flight to Newark, New Jersey and stopped there for a few hours. We met the Pittsburgh cohort in the airport and began to make our first connections outside of Boston/Haifa. We boarded our next flight to Tel Aviv and embarked on our 10 hour journey to the Holy Land. The flight was long, but don't worry—there were free movies! After numerous attempts to fall asleep, we eventually arrived safely in Israel.

We started our day in the south at Netiv HaAsara, a town bordering the Gaza Strip. We met with a women named Tzameret who spoke to us about what life is like on the border and we saw first hand the lives of the people who are closest to the conflict as it goes on. We were inspired by the fact that after all of the tough experiences that she and her family have endured she continues to have a profound love for her community and for Israel. Next, Tzameret took us to the border between Gaza and Israel. She showed us her art project of ceramic pieces that created a beautiful mural which read "Path for Peace." We were given the opportunity to add our own ceramic pieces to the wall, and we wrote wishes for peace on the back of them. At the wall, we met an IDF soldier who was protecting the border. He ended up being from Queens, New York and we were all pleasantly surprised to meet an American in such a position.  

Our next stop was the Salad Trail, which is in the Negev Desert. The Salad Trail is a farming area where we saw Israeli agricultural innovations first hand and sampled produce of many interesting varieties. For example, we tried purple carrots and zebra tomatoes.

 The special thing about this farm is that everything they grow there comes from the sand. This was such a unique type of place that even those in the cohort who have been to Israel numerous times had never encountered before. 

Our day came to a close and we took the refreshingly air conditioned tour bus to our sleeping destination, Mitzpe Ramon. Stay tuned for more!

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