Today was a water day. While Israel is challenged by a short rainy season, it is still a land blessed with lots of opportunities to get wet. This is something you certainly want to do when the thermostat is hovering close to 40 degrees.

Today was our final day in Northern Israel. We started off the day kayaking on the famous Jordan River. The river is not much more than a stream. However, we had ample time to have fun as we paddled the 4-kilometer river trip.

Afterwards, we traveled to a park called “Park HaMaarot,” (the “Park of Springs”). I had never been there before. I can truly say that G-d took a paintbrush to Israel’s landscape and personally created such a beautiful setting. We swam and walked through a stream, while enjoying the beautiful wildflowers that lined the shore. Not only did we cool off, but we appreciated the uniqueness of Eretz Yisroel.

Lunch today was at the famous Kibbutz Nir David. I emphasize where we had lunch because it highlights the changes taking place in Israel. Forty years ago, Kibbutz Nir David prided itself on serving Basar Lavan (white meat, i.e., pork) on Friday nights. Fast forward and today there is a Glatt Kosher Kitchen and a traditional Shabbat dinner is served weekly. This is a reminder that it is never too late to change. If a militant rejectionist Kibbutz can change, so can we.

Then it was off to Jerusalem – the City of Gold. After settling into our rooms, everyone had a free night. I led a group who went to explore Machane Yehuda – the Jewish Outdoor marketplace and had Falafel (what else) for dinner. Then we went to the final night of the Jerusalem Light Festival where the Old City walls and perimeter are decorated with festive lights and lit-up displays. Truly spectacular!

Tomorrow, we go to the Old City, the Temple Tunnels, the City of David and then Yad Vashem – all before Shabbat.

Laila Tov – Good Night from Jerusalem .

Rabbi Perton


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