July 6: Sand, Chlorine, and Bones

July 6, 2014 | Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

What do the above three items (in the title) have in common?  The start of our second week in Israel!

Following a restful and fun filled Shabbat (consisting of Farkel, ultimate frisbee, yoga, pool games, and a trip to the mall) we headed to Beit Guvrin for the day-an archaeological park where King Herod lived.  Here, the group crawled through caves, sifted through sand, and actually found some pottery and bones from way back when!  After the dig, with some pretty dirty teens, we headed to the nearby kibbutz for a poolside lunch.  Our teens had a chance to cool off and relax after their hard work.  The day continued with exploring one more cave and then returning to the hotel for a scrumptious dinner.  Currently, the teens are with their buses participating in some fun games and activities.  Tomorrow will be our last day in Jerusalem before we head down South for our much anticipated Desert Experience.

Please know we are aware that you are following the news regarding the challenges that Israel is currently facing.  We want to continue to emphasize that the safety of all our participants on the Teen Mission is our number one priority.  We have modified our itinerary so that we are far away from the incidents you may be seeing.  As we continue forward with our trip, we continue to monitor the situation with our logistics team and various government agencies ad will continue to make adjustments as necessary.  We hope you are looking at our pictures, which truly reflect the atmosphere and fun of the mission!  Below, please read about our trip from a teen’s perspective, Detroit’s very own Justin Hamburger.

“Why do we go to Israel?  Because we are Jewish, we are explorers, to see the world we live in.  I came to Israel not once but twice because it is the homeland of our people and I love it.  Our Jewish Community sent us to Israel to connect with our lineage.  In Sunday School we learned all these stories but there is no real tangible way to experience these tales.  But in Israel, you can touch history.  Today we visited a real live archaeological dig where they found proof of the story of Haukah…the revolt of the Maccabis.  See, we come to ISrael to connect to our Sunday School stories in our real life.  I am in no way the perfect Jew: I don’t always observe the Sabbath, I can’t really speak Hebrew, and I don’t like Humus.  But being able to experience these biblical stories in real life makes me a better Jew…it’s kind of magical.”

Well said, Mr. Hambuger 🙂

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