We then visited the city of Tzfat, the ancient mystical city, where we saw some of the mystical synagogues, walked the narrow, winding roads of Tzfat, and concluded our day with a trip to the STAM Center, the place where we learned about writing a Sefer Torah (a Torah scroll), Tefillin and Mezuzah. It is an interactive place, and everyone met the Sofer (the scribe) and had a chance to write their name in Hebrew calligraphy as well.
The next day was the day we had all been waiting for – the day we would drive to Jerusalem. We said goodbye to the Kibbutz and the North, made our way to Tzippori, the ancient city from the times of the Mishnah, with the beautiful mosaic floors, and then traveled to Jerusalem. We arrived in Jerusalem just as the sun was setting, and had the most spectacular view from Mount Scopus of the whole Jerusalem of Gold.
Our first day in Jerusalem was spent in the New City. We visited the wonderful Herzl Museum, where we learned about the Zionist Congress and Herzl’s dream to create a modern Israel state. We then walked around Mount Herzl, where we paid our respects to the greater leaders and founders of the State of Israel, including Herzl, Rabin, Golda Meir and so many others.
We then transitioned just down the road to Yad VaShem, the Holocaust Memorial Museum. We were so thrilled that our favorite docent, Malki, was able to be with us. As an intergenerational group spanning 6 decades, Malki carefully guided us through the Museum, beginning with the life that once existed in Eastern Europe before the war, and taking us through the various stages of the war, but all by telling story and sharing through individuals eyes, since it is impossible to comprehend the vastness of the war unless we hear the story. The visit concluded with a meaningful ceremony where our two B’nai Mitvah were presented with certificates for twinning with a child who perished in the Holocaust. It was incredibly moving and emotional.
We then went from the “holy” to the “mundane”, by making our way to Machaneh Yehudah, where we visited the largest shuk in Israel. The colors, tastes, sounds and smells of a wonderful market. And the following day we spent in the Old City of Jerusalem. But that will require another blog for another day.
Hoping this is giving you a taste of Israel so that you might participate in our next Journey of a Lifetime to Israel!
Greetings from Jerusalem,
Rabbi Bravo and the Makom NY Israel Participants, 2016