We kicked off the week with visits to towns on the border of Gaza and learned about what daily life is like for the people who live there. Later that day, we rode camels and settled down to sleep in Bedouin tents. We woke up bright and early the next morning to climb Masada and watch the sunrise. We also swam in the Dead Sea – actually, there was more floating than swimming – and surfed sand dunes for hours. On Tuesday, we had Negev-themed education programs and ate a delicious, homemade Moroccan lunch. We jeeped through a huge crater called Mahktesh Ramon and then spent even more time in large vehicles on our ride down to Eilat. While in Eilat, we snorkeled in the Red Sea and saw beautiful coral and huge arrays of stunning fish. We kicked off Thursday with a visit to the environmentally-oriented Kibbutz Lotan, where we learned how to be more waste-conscious and reduce our environmental footprint. Today is Friday (Friday, Friday gotta get down on Friday) and we just drove five hours up to Tel Aviv. (We slept more in those five hours than we have the rest of the trip!) We had a lovely Kabbalat Shabbat service right on the beach and we are now settling in for a relaxing shabbat filed with swimming, laughter, and way too many gas station snacks.

BonTour Bus 688 signing off from Israel, shabbat shalom.

— Yael

Camp JRF is now Camp Havaya.

Worry not! We have a new name but, deep down, we’re still the same incredibly diverse and welcoming community where kids explore Judaism in their own ways and become the best versions of themselves.

Learn more about why we chose this name or click through to visit our website. Either way, we can’t wait to welcome you to Camp Havaya this summer!