Today was truly an exhausting but incredible experience. Today was an especially exciting day because we were able to celebrate Matt Hopen’s Birthday! We all woke up at 3:30 am to gear up for Masada. With only a little coffee and snacks we all made the long trek up the snake path to smile at the top stopping often to overlook the beautiful view.
Once getting to the top we all had an opportunity to embrace the amazing scenery and learn about the history of the mountain and King Herod. We made it to the top just in time to watch the sunrise over the desert. We took a moment on the top to share blessings of things we are thankful for and just have a moment to breathe. On the top, we traveled back in time to meet the great leaders of our past and asked ourselves what values motivate us and which values we would never be able to give up. We descended Masada to enjoy a quick breakfast before heading off to the next adventure. We drove to Yerucham to hear the story of a teenage Israeli boy working with FRC, a robotic competition team. He shared with us how the robotics team creates community amongst people in the city, having older kids mentor the younger ones and creating a culture of perseverance and passion.
After a long drive, we headed towards Kibbutz Lotan, a kibbutz focusing on permaculture, in other environmental sustainability. Touching manure, sitting on cleverly designed tire seats and using compost toilets, we really developed an understanding of the importance of using renewable and efficient resources- especially because we are in the desert. After the Eco-center, we made our way to Kibbutz Ketura. We went on a tour of the Kibbutz learning about their industry of growing algae and investing in solar power energy. We enjoyed a poolside BBQ, volleyball, plenty of swimming, and birthday cake with Matt to close our day.