Today, after only a few hours of sleep, we were woken up in the Bedouin Tents at 4 am. We grabbed some delicious tea and cookies and entered the bus to Masada, a fortress built in the 1st Century B.C.E. during the rule of King Harod. We raced up the Roman ramp to watch the sunrise over the Dead Sea front the top of the plateau. After the beautiful sunrise, we learned the story of the Roman siege, ending in the suicide of the Jews living there. We could still see the huge Roman camps with walls and trenches surrounding Masada, the Roman baths including the Caldarium, a heated room, and part of a synagogue built during the time of the Second Temple. Then, we descended Masada and ate breakfast back at the Bedouin Tents. After all of this, it was not even 10 am and time to go to Tel Aviv.
We shopped and ate in the Hakarmel Market, learned about the founding of Israel at the site of the Declaration of Independence signing, and then took an interesting graffiti tour. At night we watched a ceremony at the Rabin Square, initiating Yom Hazikron.
Overall, this day covered the history of the Jewish people in the last 2,000 years and how normal Israelis live today. My meaning of what it means to be Jewish has continued to evolve as I learn more about the Jewish state of Israel.
– Josh Young, Indian Hill High School