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  • Becca Gurlanick

Day 4, Morning in the Judean Desert

We started our day with a spectacular Prima King’s breakfast buffet then we began our descent into the Judean desert while noshing on a “Chocolate Parah (cow)" bar - chocolate filled with pop rocks, which was Gal Gadot’s gift to Jimmy Fallon - a sweet gift from our bus leader Rebekah to our group.

Basha - our tour guide - commented on passing the gorgeous Old City, but what struck me most was the evolution and juxtaposition of biblical era buildings and antiquities (Independence Park and King Herod’s water supply system to mikvaot (ritual baths) at the Holy Temple) to necessities of our modern era (driving along side bullet style light rail on way to the old city). Modern urban planning could not have foreseen this! Jerusalem accommodates old and new with grace and efficiency

As we continued our desert trek, we learned that Jerusalem was part of Jordan in 1965. Jews surrendered and were forced out after bloody battle during the War of Independence in 1948. For nineteen long years, until 1967, Jews could not access the Kotel (Western Wall).

We recited Tefillat Haderech (the travelers prayer) and an Israeli participant shared a modern Hebrew version,T'filat Haboker (Morning Prayer).

Hebrew words of day: sufat, geshem, ballagan storm, rain, a mess... which at the end of the day we finally received! Baruch HaShem (Thank God!)

Enter Eretz Bereshit - land of genesis - we learned about and rode camels - who always face the sun, and enjoy built in facial screen from sun sand. Who knew that camel milk is a creamy panacea? Kiel’s eat your heart out

Yoga / meditation under a Bedouin tent was utterly relaxing and grounding and we worked up a great appetite for pita with za’atar and evoo, and verbena, geranium and lemongrass tea and Turkish coffee.

Torah moment in tent with Sarah--Sarah’s beauty -God told Abraham to listen to his wife - why care about her beauty? Jewish view of beauty- harmony of spiritual & physical not mutually exclusive.

Adrienne’s keynote ended with a very moving naming ceremony. Several women without Hebrew names took the opportunity to claim one. We learned that the word for name is Shem and for soul is neshama. A name is a reflection of the soul Hashem (God). When people choose a name, it imbues us with 1/60 of prophecy. Below is our joyous dancing celebrating the women's new names.

Stay tuned for a post about our busy afternoon!


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