Gerda Vogel Marx 8th Grade Israel Experience Class of 2018: Part 3
Levine Academy

Class of 2018: Third and Final Week in Israel

 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

In the morning, we said goodbye to Jerusalem. We drove to a view overlooking  Jerusalem and experienced the breathtaking view. Then we went to a techelet-making factory, where we learned about the process of making the dye used in the blue strings for tzitzit. They demonstrated how it is now made and how they rediscovered the lost tradition of how to make Techelet. 

Exhausted from our day, we all enjoyed a wonderful nap on the way to the city of Beit Shaan; the site of the deaths of Saul and his son, Jonathan on Gilboa. Our lunch consisted of shwarma, schnitzel, and some adventurous foods such as chicken liver and hearts. Next we swam in the Sachne River where we saw many fish and a beautiful waterfall. Our afternoon also included visiting an army base in the Golan Heights near the border of Syria. We learned about the devastating experience of different soldiers in a bunker during the Yom Kippur War. Additionally, the officer showed us around the base and shared his personal Army story of bravery and tragedy of serving in the Israeli Army. Next he explained to us more about the current situation on Syria's Civil War and how the IDF is trying to gain the trust of border towns by providing them with critical healthcare and social services. Afterwards we went to a nice restaurant and boat ride where we danced to Israeli music as a surprise from our teachers and parents. Lastly, as we were tired from our very eventful day and ready to shower and go to sleep.

Davi H. & Maikal T.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, March 26, 2018

 

Our day was filled with amazing activities including hiking up Mount Arbel, touring the city of Tzfat, and bonding with the children of Ahava Village. The hike had an easy way up but a challenging way down. We had to hold onto wires and ladders to descend to the bottom. The mystical city of Tzfat was filled with synagogues, art galleries, and many shops. We even had a chance to make our own art inspired by this city. An artist from the educational organization called Livnot Lehibinot encouraged us to be inspired both by his art and what we had been experienced in the mystical, awe inspiring city surrounded by mountains and ancient ruins. We met children living at Ahava Village and got to know a little bit about them during activities like: drum circle and arts and crafts. We came away from this activity much more thankful for the things that we have in our lives. The night ended with a fun barbecue. We then drove back to the hotel where we all crashed. 

Alex L. & Izzie H.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

At 7:00am, we started our last full day in Israel at a beautiful Tunisian Synagogue. We prayed at the synagogue and enjoyed the vivid colors from the stain glass windows and the various mosaic images that covered both the floor and the walls. The synagogue was unlike any other place because it captured countless crucial moments in the Jewish religion through bright mosaics. We couldn't imagine the amount of time and dedication it took to create this incredible synagogue. Then we headed to Mitzpeh Habirim, a farm in Galilee, which is one of the most northernmost points of the whole country. All of the 8th Grade had the honor to spend our last day in Israel helping not ourselves, but others. We worked hand in hand with both boys and girls that ranged in ages from 12-15. Together, all of us helped during the Dallas Federation sponsored afternoon as we moved rocks, trees, gates and more. The job was tough, but the end result was definitely worth it. Many of us created new friendships with the kids in our age group and we felt a sensation of connection to the land of Israel after doing a mitzvah as one big community. Thereafter, we split up into teams and had a stew cook-off. Some of us were preparing meats or slicing onions, and others were learning how to make Israeli salad. When we were done helping at Mitzpeh Habirim, we drove even farther North to Rosh Hanikra. 

Rosh Hanikra is an amazing place composed of beautiful grottoes that kept us of gasping throughout every second of the short hike as we saw the most gorgeous color blue that made up the water in the caves before us. As the sun was slowly setting, we made our last stop on the beach to witness a breathtaking sunset. We watched as the sun slowly fell on the water and changed the whole sky before our eyes. At that moment, all of us genuinely felt and saw Israel's beauty. We all dipped our feet in the water one last time and headed out to the final dinner of our 2018 Levine Academy Vogel Marx 8th Grade Israel Trip. 

Our final dinner in Israel was great! We had hummus and pita, various meats, an assortment of vegetables, and a delicious dessert. Although it may seem normal to some, many of us were touched to hear people singing "Happy Birthday," in Hebrew out in public. Most of us could not believe or comprehend that we were actually hearing people sing songs in Hebrew at a restaurant in Israel, which for us, only happens at Levine. We instantly joined in to celebrate and not only to wish someone a happy birthday, but to also show our appreciation for the country of Israel that continues to speak the Hebrew language. Once we all finished dinner, we headed back to the hotel to pack, shower, and say our goodbyes to Israel. 

We spent the evening talking about our unique experiences throughout the trip, discussing what we can now bring home and teach to our families and friends, instead of just remembering the trip. We played games, talked, and slowly began to anticipate the difficult goodbye that we all must say to our homeland. As we boarded the bus at 12:30am, we began to sing some of our favorite Israeli songs and recall this amazing once in a lifetime opportunity. As we prepared to leave Israel, Kobi (our tour guide) moved us with words of wisdom and truth: he said "There is no Hebrew word for goodbye. There has never been a word that means you will never come back. There are only words in the language that mean, 'see you soon.'" So today none of the eighth graders ended up saying "goodbye" to Israel, only "see you soon."
Rebecca H.