Gerda Vogel Marx 8th Grade Israel Experience Class of 2019: Part 1
Levine Academy

Class of 2019: Week One in Israel

Shabbat Send-off Service: March 8, 2019

The Journey Begins: March 11, 2019 - DFW Airport 

Day One: March 12, 2019 - Arriving in Tel Aviv

Day Two: March 13, 2019 - Jaffa, Tel-Aviv and Galilee

We began today with a quick tour of Jaffa (Tel-Aviv's "sister" old city), which ended with a lookout from the old city of Jaffe into the new city of Tel-Aviv. Next, we walked through Tel-Aviv and saw Independence Hall where Israel's Independence was declared. We also learned how many Empires have fought over this land -- even Egypt with remnants of hieroglyphs being found in Jaffa. As we walked through the thriving metropolis of Tel-Aviv, Kobi (our tour guide) showed us pictures of the city and the exact spots where we walked from when 66 families founded Tel-Aviv on empty sand dunes.

We learned about Jewish life in the time of the Mishna, learned the whole process of cheese making and baking, which was a major part of the economy in the Galilee. In addition to learning about ancient farming, we wore the typical clothes of Jews in the time of the Mishna (0-200 CE) and about their daily lives. Our guide discussed the Jewish people's deep connection to the land now and then and how his family is trying to continue this tradition of working and living off of the land of Israel and its bounty. However, he explained that the last 5 years have been especially tough with extremely fast weather changes that are hard for the plants and trees to adjust to and significantly less rain.

Day Three: March 14, 2019 - Galilee and Rosh Hanikra Grottoes

The students had a great time meeting their buddies from their partnership school in the Galilee. Things started out with both sides a bit reluctant and somewhat embarrassed initially.......but very soon, both sides opened up and they were acting like good friends who learned that they had a lot in common. In the end, many of them exchanged phone numbers and social media since they want to continue building this relationship with their Israeli buddies. Many students left this activity and kept on speaking about how much they enjoyed it on the entire bus ride to the Grottoes.

In the afternoon we got to experience the awesome natural wonder of the Rosh Hanikra Grottoes (Sandstone cliffs carved out by waves). Half of the path and many of the lookouts were closed off b/c of the crazy waves, but the kids didn't miss it.......in fact they seemed to enjoy the awe-inspiring power of nature even more as a result of the intense wind and waves.