Day 9- Salvage Dig, Ammunition Hill, Buried time capsule,
Kfar Ayalim, Ma’arat Ha’machpala
Good morning and Good Chodesh, up again at the crack of dawn, 6:00 am. We davened a rosh Chodesh davening with singing but no guitar, Rabbi Weiss had too many suitcases so he couldn’t bring his guitar. Pretty good breakfast with lots to choose from, and off we went.
Our first stop was amazing, salvaging the rocks removed by the Arabs while they were expanding the Temple Mount in around 1996. All the rocks contained possible artifacts dating back to the First Temple period and were thrown away like common garbage. Archeologist, after 2 years received permission to transport the “garbage” to a safe location for a thorough look through.
After a very informative introduction we began our excavating by searching for pottery, bones, glass, mosaic tiles, metals and anything else that can be recognized. All the students had a chance to sift through buckets of stuff to try and find something valuable. This was an amazing educational activity complete with history as well as Tanach references. The boys and girls both enjoyed this activity immensely, they even said “it was really fun!.” We saw arrowheads, jewelry, mosaic tiles, nails that have been discovered. The instructor told us that she has been working there for the past 6 years and that they have only gone through a little more than 1/3 of the rubble.
We went on to our next stop, Ammunition Hill, the site of a fierce battle between the Israelis and the Jordanians during the Six-Day War. The Israelis had to walk through trenches to win over the hill and the chance of surviving was low. If you were seen, you got shot. It took three separate advances before the hill was finally captured. We had a reenactment where we pretended to be the Israeli soldiers and Yoni and Eli were the Jordanians. With everyone working together, we successful “took over” the hill. This year something special happened while we were watching the movie/interactive military plans there was an older Israeli man giving a pre-movie explanation, and showing on the floor map model, how his small group of soldiers advanced. The cool part was that he was one of the soldiers who fought for ammunition hill and Jerusalem. His recollections of the details were mindboggling. He said that the reason there was so little resistance when the Israeli army entered Jerusalem was because Hussain king of Jordan told his army to forfeit and dress as civilians and that is why there were no Jordanian soldiers to be seen, how cool is that?!!!!
After coming down from the hill, we found a great place to bury the time capsule. GOOD LUCK class of 2012
Then we stopped off at the city of Efrat Yoni’s stomping ground. We had pizza at the famous Efrat Pizza and were joined by Yoni’s wife Danielle. The proprietor remembered Rabbi Weiss from trips taken many moons ago.
With full bellies we were off to Kfar Eyalim. This was a park mainly used for outdoor-related activities. We started off by doing a ropes course. Some thought it to be easy, others not so much. After the ropes course, we continued on to a rock climbing wall. There was a climbing contest but everybody thought they climbed the fastest regardless of anything anyone said, so I guess they are all winners. The last part was the most fun, the zip line. It was approximately 400 meters long, going 200 ft. over a valley below. We each paired up into groups and got a zippin. It was extremely fun and also a bit scary. When everyone made it across safely, we had a jeep waiting for us to take us back to starting point. The jeep ride was also fun, being extremely bumpy.
Our final destination for that day was Ma’arat Ha’machpala. Yoni gave a “short” explanation of what we were seeing with much theatrics. We all davened mincha at the Ma’ara, and had some private time for some personal tefillot. After a full day it was time to get back to the hotel to daven, eat shower etc. Another great dinner but R.W and R.J don’t get how they serve cake without tea or coffee? Maybe Yoni knows.
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