Day 3: Shabbat at the Sea of Galilee

Sunday, 29 May, 2011 - 7:03 pm

 Boker Tov! Day 4 is underway, and don’t for a second think that I was going to rob you of our first Shabbat experience in Israel. We’ve been busy since havdalah, so I haven’t been able to sit down with a computer, but here I am, ready to give you a full report.

Imagine a Shabbat like any other Shabbat. Rabbi Levi and Rabbi Z from Mayanot 358 led a short service in prayer, song, and dance. Pretty standard, right? Now, make the backdrop a sunset over the Galilee, and a glistening Kinneret. It was pretty awesome, and although we were all pretty hungry, I think we were all able to really appreciate it. They don’t do Shabbat like that in the States. Maybe they’ll start. Who knows?

Services finished up, we had a festive Shabbat dinner, partook in some more ice breaker activities, and enjoyed a cool Shabbat evening out on the patio of our hotel. Fortunately for us, we got to sleep in, hoping to rid ourselves of the jet-lag that’s been plaguing us since our arrival. That still remains to be seen, but since we’re about to go on another hike, we’ll find out soon enough.

Most of Saturday was spent relaxing out on the hotel patio, tanning, reading, talking joking, and a bunch more “ing” words that I can’t think of right this moment. In the early evening, Ronen led us on a walking tour of the city of Tiberias, whereupon we learned about Israel’s four holy cities (Jerusalem, Tzfat, Chevron, and Tiberias), and even met some locals.

Note: Talking to some 12-year-old Israeli boys and girls across a language barrier is pretty difficult, but just as fun as you think it’d be.

So we returned to the hotel, freshened up, had a small Havdalah service to commemorate the end of Shabbat, and made our way to “downtown” Tiberias for a dinner of salad, pasta, and pizza. The area of Tiberias we went to was a boardwalk-style pier on the Kinneret, full of eateries, shops, bars, clubs, and things of the sort. The street was lined with hustling magicians-Jordan Waldman thought he knew how to play the game well, but a local advised him against it; he still holds to it that he wouldn’t have lost any money-and freelance guitarists. Some of us got some fro-yo (raspberry for me), and mingled with some other birthright groups. A fun night overall.

After a good night’s sleep (for very few of us), we’re back on the road with our brand new guests, Israeli soldiers. Today looks to be an eventful day of hiking, rafting, a visit to a Kibbutz, and night out on the town in Tel Aviv. Keep checking back for updates, as the trip is sure to pick up.

And one more note, it’s Alexa’s 20th birthday! I can’t really think of a better way to celebrate your birthday than a night out in Tel Aviv, so it’s sure to be a fun day for her and the rest of us. Until next time, Shalom!

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