Saturday, July 10, 2010
Before I go into todays adventures I wanted to add something interesting about yesterday. When we all placed notes into the Kotel (Western Wall), it was explained that from time to time the notes are removed because there are so many, and they are considered Holy- therefore the notes are given a Jewish burial and never destroyed.
Today was a day of fun- a day to realize that we can not always dwell on the serious aspects of our journey but must stop to reflect and smell the roses! We started out early and headed to Masada. The place where about 900 Jews held off the Roman soldiers and decided it was best to die rather than to surrender to the Romans. In the Jewish faith suicide is a sin, therefore they drew lots after each head of household killed their own wives and children. There were 10 men left, and one man was to kill the others and then himself therefore one only person technically committed suicide.
The road to Masada passes through the West Bank where we saw Bedouin encampments, along with their sheep, mules and camels. We began to descend down below sea level towards Masada. Once there we took the gondola up ( when I was here 35 years ago I climbed up and down the snake path- a right of passage for Jewish people). We were given the tour by our guide Charles- who has been with us for the time in Israel- seeing the fresco's the places where food was stored, baths taken and even sauna's!
Incredible how the tiles are still viable and beautiful.
We had lunch in En Gedi and went into the Dead Sea. That was strange and grueling!
We forgot to bring our shoes along and the rocky beach was 120 Degrees F. Once in the water we tried to get to the mud area, some of us succeeded unscathed others, like myself, had slight injuries- I have a bruised toe, my friend a bruised hand. We floated around for a bit, and headed back to the bus where we then traveled to the Oasis. That was really an Oasis in the desert, lush, green, and pockets of fresh water pools. We walked up to the waterfall and jumped into this refreshing pool of cool water and went under the waterfall. It was extremely hot and one of the particpants had a bout with heat exhaustion. Once we returned back to the hotel some of us went to the pool to relax and then had dinner. We have to be up at 12:30 am in order to get to the airport for our flight to Frankfurt then to Berlin.
So I do not think I will bother to sleep at all tonight.
We all understand that being in Israel first gives us the 'light' at the end of the tunnel that resulted in a new life for so many Jews who survived the Holocaust. The next part of the trip will be emotional and will allow us to better appreciate the life that has been built here in Erez Israel.