Day 25 - Tel Aviv and Jaffa (Lehava)
Today we woke up in the beautiful city of Jaffa. We were lucky enough to have a sleep in which everyone needed after our last 3 days of options week! Everyone was extremely excited for the day to come, you could feel the joy in the room.
After breakfast we were lucky enough to take a walking tour though the streets in Jaffa. We arrived at a lookout after about a 10 minute walk. From the lookout we all saw the stunning view of Tel Aviv beach. From the lookout we could see a Church and Mosque, as Jaffa was a Holy site for all religions. We all really appreciated seeing proof of many religions living together peacefully in Israel.
Our tour guide told us that Jaffa has been an important town for more then 12,000 years and that it was even around at the time of the Egyptians. While we were admiring the view we saw a number of groups from other religions touring the same area.
We then continued walking to a Jaffa orange tree that was suspended from the ground. This is extremely significant for the people of Jaffa. Growing and selling oranges was a huge part of agriculture in Jaffa and the income from this helped the city to grow and expand. Today the oranges that are grown in Jaffa are extremely famous around the world (in fact 80% of the world's oranges come from Jaffa and even have their own name). Following seeing the orange tree we explored more of the small streets of the old city.
After exploring Jaffa, we hopped onto the bus by the water front and drove to the Hall of Independence. This was an extremely significant moment for most people, as this was where Israel was declared as a state. When we got the museum we watched a short movie which showed us the history of the land up until the declaration of the state on the 14th May 1948. After watching the inspirational video we went into a room where the declaration of the state took
place! This room witnessed such a key part of all of our Jewish history and we were privileged enough to stand in the exact room where it happened! It was just like the pictures. The two flags of Israel and the picture of Theodore Herzl. It didn't seem real, we were right there where David Ben Gurion declared the state of Israel. Miriam (one of the IST coordinators) explained a bit about her story and how she was inspired to become a tour guide by visiting the Independence Hall. She explained that most Israeli school children hadn't been taken to the Independence Hall until about 10 years ago.
It was now time for lunch! We walked to a spot in the middle of Tel Aviv. We enjoyed a lunch of pasta and salad. It was very enjoyable to eat lunch and chill with friends. We were lucky enough to have a bit of free time in Tel Aviv. It was wonderful to see how people live in Tel Aviv. As it was my first time in Tel Aviv in my opinion it was the complete opposite to what I saw in Jerusalem.
It was then time for our afternoon activities. The night before we choose from 4 options: Save a Child's Heart, Graffiti tour, Israeli Entrepreneurship & A museum that showed the establishment of the state of Israel.
I was lucky enough to go on the Graffiti tour which I was extremely pumped for. It was a experience which I would never have the opportunity to do again. We took a bus and met a lady who would be taking us for a tour. We all sat down and she gave us a quick talk about graffiti and what it means to be a graffiti artist. As a group we walked around the streets of Tel Aviv to see all the graffiti art, we stopped at a number of works so Ellanoy could explain the story behind them.
There was one work which stood out to most people. This work of art had braille on it as a part of the piece. The tour guide explained that she spoke to the person who created it and she said she had no idea why she put Braille on the art work. This was now the end of our formal part of the tour. The whole group was looking forward to being able to create their own graffiti art them selves. We walked to the place where everyone practises their work. Everyone was able to have time to spray paint on the walls, people created all different types of artwork. Each piece had different meaning. It was now the end of enjoyable experience around the graffiti walls in Tel Aviv. We headed back to the hotel to get ready for the night to come.
We hopped on the bus once again, we were on our way to Petach Tikva. This is where we would have the chance the smooze with the other side of IST and listen to the outstanding Yonina. Listening to them will be something to always remember. Their music was so special everything they sang had different meanings. Throughout the night there was an amazing vibe through the room.
I hope everyone enjoys their Shabbat with hosts families, time for some rest after the last month of the most unforgettable program!
IST so far has been such a special experience, all the special bounds that have been made and all the priceless moments. Without all the madrichim and teachers IST wouldn't be running, we thank them so much. I hope everyone enjoys the last two weeks of the program and absorbs everything that is given to us. IST is an experience that will never be forgotten.
By Makayla Levy