Good morning everyone! It is hard to believe that we are already starting our 2nd week, how time flies in Israel.
Well we’re up early again this morning. We packed up all our stuff, davened, had breakfast and loaded the bus for our next hotel Ma’ale Hachamisha, right outside of Jerusalem. The second week begins!
Our first adventure in the South was none other than the lowest of the low- the Dead Sea. Not only was this the lowest point on Earth, but this is the saltiest. Several of our clan took the risk, and ventured in to the salt-infested waters. This risk paid off, as they realized that they could float. What a mighty superpower this was. The water of the Dead Sea is filled with so many minerals; it has an oily touch to it. Before we went in Yoni went over the rules; if water gets in eyes DON’T RUB them; no splashing etc. Well after the first 30 seconds we had 2 offenders Ari and Zach well they rubbed OUCH. Rabbi Jaffee immediately led them to the showers because their eyes were closed. They washed off and right back in, no other incidents Benya needed to break off some salt from some rocks so he lifted the huge rock and was pounding on it, very caveman like, gotta love Benya. Only the boys went in the girls were not interested, too dirty and messy. After coming out of the water the boys took quick showers and off we went.
We continued on to the Wadi famously known as En Gedi. Dovid Hamelech hid there from King Shaul, after he tried to kill Dovid numerous times. The weather was strange very humid and cloudy, it even drizzled a little. We took the short hike up to the waterfalls, and kicked off our shoes, donned our bathing suits and jumped right in. On the way to the waterfalls, we saw one indigenous species of animals, the Rock Hyrax, no Nubian Ibex this time around , maybe it was the weather.
Then to the famed Masada. They have done so many renovations that we could hardly recognize the entrance; Fancy new restaurant cafeteria style ; other restaurants; a huge shopping area and much more, beautiful. We had lunch at the new restaurant, falafel and drinks. Since we had been making good time someone suggested that we walk up the “snake path” to the top of Masada. Well we talked about it (not for too long)it was decided OK let’s do it. So off went the boys, Yoni and taking up the rear Rabbi Jaffee. By the way this class is the first ever at HAGH 8th graders to do the climb. Well the boys made it up anywhere between 25-30 minutes, Yoni about 36 minutes and Rabbi Jaffe 40 minutes, not too shabby. R. J explained that he is actually in better shape than the boys. The logic went like this: R.J is three time their age and did the climb in double their time so, he is in better shape because they at his age would have taken 60 minutes, so there! So as for the girls I will give you, the parents 1 guess (hint: refer to above)…shopping in the gift shop, of course!! Then they followed later by cable car to the top.
When we got to the top, we saw Herod’s vacation resort overlooking the Dead Sea. We were able to see Herod’s bathhouse, his storage rooms, his commandant’s quarters, his pool, and even the palace itself. We also saw the synagogue of the ancient Jewish rebels, who escaped Jerusalem to Masada. Included in the sites, was the Great Cistern, where Herod stored water to drink. Masada was pretty hot, so we followed YONI LAWS to consume at least one full bottle of water.
Then we headed off to Maale HaChamisha. On the way we saw a TV Broadcasting Station where Kochav Nolad (Israel’s American Idol) is filmed. Then we stopped on the way at the Elvis Prestley Diner, where we didn’t eat but looked around. Then we settled into the hotel and went off to dinner. The food was amazing!! After dinner the boys went swimming and we (Esther and Tali) talked on the phone the whole night!! Just kidding
-Esther, Tali, and Rabbi Jaffee