At 5:10 am, our plane touched down at Ben Gurion airport, our bodies restless. However, as we stepped off the plane we felt a feeling each of us never had never felt.
While many of us have been to Israel before, coming from where we had been gave us an entirely different experience. Ben Peri, an Israeli, said this time wasn’t like the others, “this felt more important”. Taylor Miller & I both felt tears in our eyes as we stepped off the El Al flight and knew we had the same feeling of emotion come over us.
In days before, we had seen the worst of humanity and had some of the most intense days of our lives. Now we were more than ready to see how our people survived and prospered in Israel while remembering what we had seen in Poland.
While we were sad to say bye to our beloved Peppi, we were enthused to meet our new tour guide Liz and security guard Ofek, and started our journey with a short meaningful ceremony in which Liz shared the value of each of us choosing what our experience will be.
We arrived in Tel Aviv and went to the beach to do a short activity to introduce us to Israel, and each of us felt eager to explore and were in awe of the city. From there we walked to the Karmel market and Liz showed us around and talked about city life in Tel Aviv. We went off on our own to explore the bustling market place, and personally, I was extremely excited for my falafel sandwich which was amazing. Molly Ferguson and Sara Margolis stepped out of their comfort zone and also tried falafel, which they both found to be delicious.
Following our eventful free time, we drove to the Bina Yeshiva in the south side of Tel Aviv and heard about recent migrations of different groups to the city that spark controversy. Bina helps provide the community in the area and we were able to help with garden work and meet different people.
We opened our eyes from a much-needed nap and pulled up to the Bedouin tents. Right away we hopped on our camels and ventured out into the desert while enjoying the camel’s entertainment. We heard the interesting story of the Bedouin people and experienced their hospitality, continuing with a mini feast at dinner. After dinner we sat around the campfire, then each of us absolutely crashed after a long long day, ready for our 4 am wake up call to Masada.