Israel Trip 2017 – Day 4

Mifgash 2017   
Day 4
The entire Canadian and Israeli group at the Wading Pool, Tel Dan Nature Reserve

As I looked out my window this morning it was déjà vu – unfortunately, Vancouver déjà vu, with grey skies smiling at me…. However, opening my hotel room balcony door, the air temperature was not at all Vancouver, and I can start the story at the end: it never rained, and it stayed nice and warm, and was in fact the perfect temperature for our day plan.

It is always exciting, the morning back after the first night in homestay. We try to pounce on the kids as they arrive off the buses (we are Lions at King David after all) to find out how their first night was – thankfully, our question was usually greeted by dismissive looks that I have learned over the years mean "of course everything was great, why are you asking?" A couple of kids had trouble sleeping or getting food – we did discuss these things in advance. I reiterated to the kids again before they left this afternoon to appreciate that their Israeli host families want them to have a great time, and they want to know how to make it great for them. It’s just like when they host guests in Vancouver – you always want your guests to help you show them a great time, and it’s even more true here, as our Israelis are so happy we are here and so proud to show us Israel.

Keren, Kyla, Moselle, Ilana W., Jessica, Sophie, Jasi, Indy, Ilana G., Maya, and Mattea, waiting to enter Tel Dan

Today was a visit to the Tel Dan Nature Reserve, which is just a few minutes down the road from the school. Tel Dan is a beautiful place, with trails and streams and 4,000-year-old ruins. At the Reserve, the students were divided into groups, and during the hiking through this spectacular area and at different stations along the way the students participated in a number of activities – good fun, if you like searching for a candy in a plate of flour with your mouth only (hands tied behind your back).

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It was a peaceful place, marred only by the beautiful sound that 78 teenagers can make (thankfully the river is quite loud in places too).


Keren, Ilana W., Jasi, Maya, Vida, and Ella pose in front of the beautiful view into Lebanon

There are some really nice spots on the walk and some cool ruins. There is an old sacrificial altar and an ancient tabernacle – these things used to go together, apparently. There are gorgeous views from many points into Lebanon – lush green hills all around. My favourite spot on this hike is a wading pool – we have in the past rested our feet in the pool, but this year the weather was perfect for hiking but not for drying wet feet. I want you to know it was warm today (95% of the Canadians were in shorts, but less than half the Israelis were in shorts – it’s very cold weather today in Hebrew, apparently).

Do we really have to take another group photo at the Winnie-the-Pooh Tree?

Two paragraphs do not do this day justice, but we were hiking (OK, walking over some uneven trails) and doing activities for around three hours. We then took a short food break and headed back to school, where the students had the pleasure of another pep talk from me – please feel free to ask them, as I am sure they found it riveting (especially the part about suggesting they ask their Israeli hosts how to use their showers, as five nights might be too long to avoid showering…).

It was a bit different at the end of the day today, as their school is about to start a 3-week Pesach Break, which led to lots of Chag Sameach wishes all around. So today the buses rolled in around 2 p.m. and after ensuring that every student was on a bus and the buses had left, it is possible that we all looked at each other and smiled – or I may have misinterpreted. Either way, our break is short-lived, as there is a party organized tonight for the students and, hey, we just cannot say no to a party, especially knowing how much the kids like having me crash their parties.

This is my last update, as tomorrow is Shabbat – at least for two days (sorry if I scared you, as I know that for some of you, your children tell you very little of what their day looks like). I would like to thank Matt and Esther for their excellent photos – and of course I thank Debbie again for putting it all together and sending this update out daily from her home base at King David. Also my deep appreciation to the entire team – Mama Bear Dorin, who keeps us all organized and to Matt, Lu, Aron, and Esther, who are unceasingly patient with and available to the kids. We will be back on Sunday (Day 7) – by that time I will have eaten more pudding and I will still not have eaten any Israeli salad! One more time, let me ask that you please help support your children through this weekend if they reach out to you by asking them to contact us directly. We will gladly help them through any challenges that may appear. Once again, know how well they have been doing.

We wish you an early Shabbat Shalom from Eretz Israel, 
Russ

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