On Sunday, an early morning goodbye to Jerusalem led us to a long bus ride south where we ended at a lookout point called Black Arrow. We could see Gaza and Or used it as an opportunity to teach us about the history and current situation in Gaza including borders, economy and leadership. After the lookout, we went to a nearby Kibbutz and heard from a woman who lived there about her experience living so close to Gaza. She showed us shrapnel of rockets and balloons that have ended up on her property as well as explained how it affects the day to day life on the kibbutz. We had Pizur lunch in Sderot and then headed to a fan favorite, the salad trail. We tried different herbs they were growing and ate lots of cherry tomatoes before releasing pigeons as a group. After a hot day, we drove to our new hotel in Mitzpe Ramon and the view is incredible! Our balconies face the Machtesh so everyone has been enjoying hanging out outside and being in nature after a busy week in Jerusalem. We had dinner at the hotel, celebrated Sammy’s birthday, and got ready for our day tomorrow!

On Monday, we got a late start (9:30!!) and started our day doing some reflection and Yoga at a lookout point at the Machtesh led by our camper Leah, thank you Leah! We loaded the bus and drove to Ein Ovdat National Park where we did a shortened hike due to the heat. We saw lots of ibex and learned about why there is a natural spring in the desert. From there, we went to Sde Boker where we visited David Ben Gurion’s grave and learned about what he did in Israel and discussed the significance of him being buried in the desert. We stayed in Sde Boker for pizur lunch and ate lots of delicious deli sandwiches (don’t get me wrong we still love falafel but a turkey sandwich hits every once and a while) before heading to a local kibbutz to swim and relax for the afternoon! It was great to get out of the sun and it was nice to cool off and get out a lot of energy at the pool. We ended our day with a fan favorite activity, sand surfing in the desert. We climbed the big sand dunes over and over, sliding down on the boards over and over again and watched a beautiful sunset. Today was a hot one, but everyone did great and enjoyed the opportunity to relax and do a lot of fun activities.

Until tomorrow,

Havaya Israel 2023