First Two Days in Israel, by Lauren Trossman (with Hayley Wagman)

1824789_origWe landed in Israel! We went straight to breakfast in a Bedouin tent and the food was amazing. We then drove to Masada and hiked up the Roman Ramp path. My group timed ourselves and finished the hike in 10 minutes! We then toured the ancient fortress and learned about the history of the Jews during the Roman times. We went to the edge of the cliff and shouted loudly as a group and heard our echo. Afterwards we took the cable car down and drove to a kibbutz on the Dead Sea. On the drive there it was interesting to see the line where the water used to be, and all the sinkholes in the area.

Once we arrived we ate lunch and had free time to shop and swim in the Dead Sea. Everyone played in the mud and enjoyed floating in the sea. We then drove to our wonderful hotel on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

The next day we took the bus to the Haas Promenade where we said Shechechianu while looking out on Jerusalem. Then we drove to a main street where we stood for the Yom Hazikaron Siren. It was very powerful to see everyone stop their cars and get out to respect Israel’s fallen soldiers.

Once the siren ended we drove into the old city where we had lunch and an hour of free time for shopping and exploring. Many of us got a red string tied on and were blessed. Once the hour was over we met up with our group for a tour of the old city. We learned about the history of Jerusalem’s borders and went on a roof to get a view of the old city. We then walked to the Kotel where many of us wrote notes and had time for personal reflection.

Afterwards, we went to mini Israel where we had a transition ceremony between Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut. The choir performed and many survivors and March of the Living staff spoke. We ate dinner at mini Israel and had a dance party with March of the Living participants from across Canada. We came back to the hotel, went to bed, and were excited to see what the next day would bring.

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