Sunday, July 2: The start of our third week was full of learning and adventure. Nativ HaAsara would be our first stop. There, we talked to the people living near the Gaza border. There, our group stuck pieces of clay on the border wall as part of an art project to make the wall look less threatening. We then journeyed our way to Dialogue in the Dark, where we experienced what it’s like to be blind by walking through exhibits in complete darkness. At the end of this long day, we were treated to a private screening of The Little Mermaid.
Monday, July 3: We started at an Arab Christian woman’s house to learn about her culture and life story as a minority of a minority in Israel. We then went to a refugee center before going back up north to start our sea-to-sea hike with a hike up Mount Meron. We ended by setting up our camp site and having a song session.
Tuesday, July 4: ILS was able to participate in its longest hike so far — this long hike lasted 12 hours. During it we admired the beautiful views and swam in the cool springs. At the end, after we’d climbed up an entire mountain, we were lucky enough to catch an ice cream truck! We then ended the exhausting day with a beautiful overlook and then a bonfire back at the camp site.
Wednesday, July 5: We finished our sea-to-sea hike with a hike that led us to an open spring where we met Israeli teens and went swimming. After packing up our camp site, we went to Kibbutz Amiad where we had time to go to the pool and hang out for the night.
Thursday, July 6: We started off our day with a bus drive to the kibbutzim that we’d be staying in for the weekend and met the teens who would be hosting us. Then we went on a water hike where we got to know the Israelis a bit better and enjoyed cooling off in the water. After that we went to the Meshlavot in Beit She’an with our kibbutzim where we ate a huge meal and made some cham-cham; a fried dough with honey sauce. We then volunteered at Kibbutz Alpha, where we built flower boxes for people who immigrated from Ethiopia to Israel and are now living in absorption centers. We hung out with some kids there and had some pizza before going back to our hotel, where we ended the night with stargazing and a song session.
Friday, July 7: We started our day off early by heading to breakfast and packing the bus to head to our two kibbutzim; Rupin and Reshafim. After saying goodbye to half the group, Rupin had activities for the kids festival such as tug-of-war, a water zip line, and eating popsicles by the pool, while Reshafim toured the cow farm and the preschool and played games with the kids there. Then, both groups headed over to the Sachne where we played in the water springs and ate lunch. After that, both groups went back to their Kibbutzim and got unpacked and ready for shabbat. While Reshafim had a shabbat service, Rupin had dinner with their host families and learned about their traditions. To end off the night, both groups hung out in their respective teen centers and went to bed.
Saturday, July 8: Today, we had mostly free days in our Kibbutzim. Reshafim had a krav maga lesson and pool time before dinner and free time while Rupin had pool time, pita making, and time with host families. It was a pretty chill day for both groups, which after a long week was exactly what we needed to recharge for our final week. It’s hard to believe our trip’s almost over!