Highs and Lows
Updated: Nov 8, 2019
By Reva Fox and Marina Chester
Our 4th day in Israel was a day of enormous highs and lows.
Our tour guide du jour was Rivi. She was a wealth of knowledge about the history and geography of Jerusalem. She taught us that date trees thrive in the desert here because they need salty water to make sweet dates. There is definitely a parallel to humans who often take difficulties and make something sweet. Who go from low to high.
Our first stop was Erez Bereshit where we met Avraham (and interestingly, did you know the father of the Jewish people had an Aussie accent?)
In the midst of the rolling hills of this beautiful desert, we rode camels, made pita bread, did yoga, and most Importantly had a naming ceremony for our friends who did not have Hebrew names.
This was the emotional high point of the day. Each woman had thought about and chosen the Hebrew name that had meaning for her. It was especially moving for the four women who were born in the former Soviet Union. They had not been allowed to have Hebrew names as children and now were able to reclaim that part of their history for themselves.
The joy and pride each woman felt was so moving.
Dancing around our newly named friends in the gorgeous desert was incredible. I know men dance too, but women dancing together in celebration is a powerful amount of joy.
Our next stop was Masada. The fortress on top of a mountain in the desert. Ascending in a cable car and walking this ancient fortress, we leaned the history of the buildings and also the story and many mysteries of the siege on Masada. We also met the delightful scribe who writes a Torah in a tiny room on the top of Masada. He kindly wrote some of our names and congratulated the newly named with hearty “Mazel Tov”s!
We went from the high Masada to our last stop of the day, the lowest point on the entire planet, the Dead Sea. We got to try the rather odd experience of slathering ourselves with mud and walking into the mineral filled Dead Sea. We floated and laughed and what happens in the Dead Sea stays in the Dead Sea.
We ended our day walking around Ben Yehuda Street.
Today was day filled with laughter and joy.