Day 14 by Sean Novis: Lebanon Border, Bike Riding and River Rafting

December 4, 2013

We awoke in the holy city of Tzvat, and prepared to leave the narrow streets and beautiful artworks that thousands of Jews embrace everyday. Our first stop was as close as we are ever likely to get to foreign territory - right on the Israel-Lebanon border. We went all the way up the mountain to the northern-most kibbutz in Israel (and funnily enough, the northern-most kibbutz in the world) where the fence we drove along on the way up acts as a border for both the kibbutz and Israel itself. It was incredible to see Lebanon so close up, and some people even touched Lebanese soil.

 

Our first activity was to hear Aryeh speak, who lives and loves living on the kibbutz. He was hilarious in communicating his political, and slightly controversial views on Judaism, Lebanon and Israel. He had made aliyah from Cleveland, Ohio in the USA, and has participated in every war Israel has been involved in since the 6-day-war in 1967. He made his views unequivocally clear to us during his talk, where the room overlooked both Northern Israel and Southern Lebanon, which was spectacular.

 

After the talk with Aryeh, we got in the bus and drove to the Chula lake for a leisurely bike ride and to take in the breathtaking scenery of Northern Israel. We rode along the mountainside, which made for a great beginning to the afternoon. After about an hour we finished the ride and returned our bikes and helmets to the staff before heading back into the cool shade. There is nothing better to have after a bike ride in the searing heat than an ‘Avatiach’ - a watermelon ice cream - and most of us couldn’t resist.

 

The next activity for the day was rafting in the Jordan River, which was incredibly fun. We threw our life jackets on and formed groups of about 6 and made our way in the rafts down the river, on a 4km course. There wasn’t anyone who didn’t love the rafting, and the best part was the splash wars that occurred throughout the course. We were all drenched by the time it was done, and some people even swam in the freezing river, climbing onto other boats. We got changed into spare, dry clothes, and got on the bus for a mammoth 4 hour drive back to Jerusalem frequently interrupted by heavy traffic. After what seemed like an eternity, we arrived back at the hotel and had a great dinner, before getting into bed for a well deserved sleep.

Day 15 by Ashleigh Berson: Start of Ulpan

Day 13 by Zoe Resnick: Shabbat