Shabbat shalom from Israel. After a very long flight, the No’ar Hadah Israel Experience teens were happy to meet their Israeli staff in Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. We immediately hit the ground running, with a tour of Neot Kedumim, a biblical garden which has been reconstructed, in order to learn what it was like to live on the land in the Biblical period. Here we listened, looked, tasted, touched, and smelled the Biblical period, including crushing our own zatar, making oil lamps, and learning how olive oil and wine were made.
Thursday, we began our day with an archaeological dig in the area of Bet Guvrin, which is from the Hellenistic period. The staff at Bet Guvrin said this was one of the most eventful days of digging they had seen in a long time; Rachel K. found an austercome, a pottery shard with Aramaic script—an extremely rare find. The student who helped us through the dig is the grandson of Rabbi Jack Cohen, one of the founders of Reconstructionism. The head archaeologist, a man named Bernie, told us that as Reconstructionists we are going to save Israel.
Today, we started off walking on top of the walls of the Old City, getting a birds-eye view of Jerusalem. Then we went down below the walls and walked through the tunnels, singing songs of Jerusalem as we walked through water that flowed from a cistern built more than two millennia ago. This afternoon we went shopping in the shuk at Mahaneh Yehudah and the prepared for Shabbat services at Kol Haneshamah synagogue. Every day since we have been here, someone has said that “this is the coolest day of my life.” We’re looking forward to many more days like this as we continue to explore the neshama—the soul—of Jerusalem and Israel.
To access the Israel Experience blog, please visit www.israelexperts.com and click on the No'ar Hadash banner under "News and Links." Learn more about No'ar Hadash--the Reconstructionist Youth Movement at http://www.noarhadash.org.