Unlike most American Jews, who probably spent Christmas eating Chinese food and watching Les Miserables, we had a really busy day today! We started the day with breakfast at 7am, sharp, which is no fun with jetlag. Breakfast on the kibbutz is really interesting (and delicious); we were all expecting Lucky Charms, but it mostly consisted of salad, hummus, and cheese. It was really good, though!
Then we left for Zefat, a city in the North of Israel known for its artwork and ties to Kaballah, or Jewish mysticism. There we toured several synogogues, learned about Kaballah, and went to a candle shop where they handmade all sorts of beautiful candles. Some pictures are below:
The Torah ark at one of the synogogues in Zefat
This is a handmade candle in the store at Zefat. It’s a giant Noah’s ark!
Also, now would be a good time to introduce my (particularly photogenic) Caltech companions:
That’s Jeff and Eric, both of whom live in Ruddock House with me
And that’s Ben, Alex, and Liana (also Rudds!)
We also visited the Golan Heights and learned about the history and strategic importance of the region for the Israeli military. We even got to go into an old Syrian bunker.
Finally, we went to the city of Kiryat Shmona and visited students taking part in the Ayalim program. The Ayalim foundation allows students to work in disadvantaged neighborhoods while they complete their studies and expand local communities. These students work with the youth in the area, offering tutoring services, after-school care, and other projects. Several years ago, they even rebuilt part of an old basketball court after it had been hit by an incoming rocket. More information about their foundation can be found here: https://ayalim.org.il/en/
That’s it for now! Hopefully I’ll be less tired (and more coherent) next time I write!