Beth Israel B'Yisrael 2

Friday, Erev Shabbat, found us touring the art galleries and synagogues of Tsfat. In the afternoon we rafted down the Jordan river where we encountered Jew and Arab alike camping by its banks and swimming in its waters (though none of us was brave enough to risk a camera for the photos!).

Marcy’s long-standing connection to Livnot U’Lehibanot (Build and Be Built) gave us a marvelous Shabbat experience. Livnot U’Lehibanot provides its participants (such as the Birthright group with whom we shared Shabbat) with both service opportunities (such as repairing homes and participating in archaeological digs) and spiritual education. On Friday night we celebrated a joyous Kabbalat Shabbat from their terrace, overlooking the hills of the Galilee, singing L’cha Dodi and Yedid Nefesh - both composed right there in Tsfat. On Shabbat morning, we experienced a guided meditation and then a tour of the ancient ruins of the town that Livnot U’Lehibanot participants are uncovering.

Shabbat afternoon we toured Tel Dan Nature Reserve. A Tel, as we learned, is a hill formed by an archaeological site. In the nature reserve we waded in natural pools and explored the ruins of the ancient city of the tribe of Dan. This city became a major center following the death of Solomon when the united kingdom split into a Northern Kingdom of Israel and a Southern Kingdom of Judah. We then visited the Golan Heights from which we could see both Syria and Lebanon before we began the long drive down to Jerusalem (with a stop for falafel along the way).

Bruce Alpert