Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Taglit Mayanot Day 1: Golan Hiking

Below is a transcription of the journal I kept during my Taglit Birthright trip. I went with Mayanot Israel from December 26, 2012 through January 8, 2013. To start at the beginning, click here!

December 28, 2012

Word of the day: Sababa (סבּבּה) = Awesome

I woke up this morning in Israel! Our hotel has a spectacular view of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. It is absolutely beautiful!
Waterfall in Zavitan

We went hiking in the Golan Heights this morning. You have to stick to the trail, which is marked by an electric fence, because the mountains are filled with land mines left behind by the Syrians when they retreated during the war of 1967. The mountains were formed by a volcanic eruption and from far away they look like huge boulders covered in a thin green blanket. If you believe Ariel, our tour guide, the black rocks of the mountains were formed by Dinah, Joseph's sister, by her tears when he went missing. The trail was muddy from recent rain, but the surroundings were gorgeous nonetheless. The kids on the trip were amazed by and scared of the wild cows and bulls that we passed. We also saw a waterfall before heading back to the bus for lunch.

We got schwarma and falafel for lunch. I could eat falafel every day! After lunch, we had a quick hike up Mt. Bental, where we saw Israeli army bunkers and learned about the Yom Kippur War (1973). Also from there, you can see Syria.

We headed back to the hotel early for Shabbat, a short Maariv service and dinner. For more about my first Shabbat in Israel, read on.