Another hot morning in the desert started with us saying goodbye to Kibbutz Keturah and loading up the bus. Our first stop was at an agricultural research center, which focused on ways to farm in the desert. We got to play in their interactive museum with sand models, videos and we even found Nemo! We drove to a couple’s home for a delicious home cooked lunch and learned about their story of growing up in the desert and how their lifestyle and work has changed over the years. We finished lunch and headed over to a center for Bedouin women and heard from the founder, Amal. She told us about her journey to becoming an established member of the community, and her journey to becoming a nurse, something that was very rare for women in her community. Since becoming a nurse, she has started numerous health initiatives in her community, some of which involve genetic testing, early cancer detection for women, and working to get Arabic translations in the local hospitals.

We continued with the Bedouin theme for the day and drove to our next accommodations: the Bedouin tents. There was no cell service but it was fun to unplug for the night and spend time learning about Bedouin hospitality. We rode camels (check the instagram for pictures!!) and drank delicious tea. We had a reflection session around the campfire to check in with each other as we’re already 2/3 of the way through the trip! We talked about what challenged us, what surprised us and what we connected with and it was great to hear from everyone. We ended our night singing camp songs around a bonfire before doing our best to fall asleep in a hot tent.

This morning (Friday) we woke up once again, bright and early and hiked up the Roman ramp of Masada. We made it in time to watch a beautiful sunrise and then walked around Masada learning from Or about the history and significance of it. It was early and hot, but super interesting to see ruins that old. We loaded up and grabbed breakfast back at the Bedouin tent before driving over to float in the dead sea! There were mixed opinions overall, but it’s a unique experience you can’t miss. A long sleepy bus ride led us to Tel Aviv for the next four nights which we’re all looking forward to!

Shabbat Shalom,

Havaya Israel 2023