29 October 2014
Israel First Mission: October 18 – October 27, 2014
Check out blog posts and photos from The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Israel First Mission in partnership with Da’at Travel. This incredible journey through Israel took adults who had never before been to Israel on an exciting tour through Tel Aviv, the Golan Heights, Upper Galilee and Jerusalem. In just ten days, travelers formed a powerful connection to Israel through unforgettable firsts: their first visit to the Western Wall, their first time floating on the Dead Sea, their first experience with Yad Vashem, their first trip up Masada, their first visit to an Israeli Kibbutz and so much more. Read blog posts from Federation staff members who helped lead the trip and see photos of their journey.
Day 2 – We’ve had two amazing days in Israel! Yesterday, we learned about the bravery and determination of the founders of the State through an interactive tour at the Palmach Museum and Independence Hall in Tel Aviv. We then got a “taste of Israel” at a delicious Bukarian restaurant that was established with the assistance of the Jewish Agency’s Loan Fund program, enabling small business owners to get their start and contribute to Israel’s economy.
Today we walked among Roman ruins in Ceasaria, exploring 2,000 years of history then headed to the mystic city of Tzfat to learn about Kabbalah and enjoy the many galleries in this beautiful artist village. Our day culminated with a wonderful, interactive visit with new Ethiopian émigrés at a Jewish agency absorption center where we learned the history of Ethiopian immigration and how they are prepared and integrated into Israeli society so that they can lead successful lives. The best part was playing with all the wonderful children! Looking forward to a great day tomorrow in the Golan Heights.
Day 5 – Totally amazing day! Soldier pictured below is Jonny Sayag, a lone soldier from our community who came To speak with us about the Six Day and Yom Kippur wars firsthand. The picture with the banner is Jonny and other soldiers holding the sight that was made at the teen dance party organized last summer by a CESJDS student to raise money for the Operation Protective Edge Stop the Sirens campaign. Teens signed the banner thanking the solders. They were incredibly moved that a teen from US would do this.
Day 10 – The last three days of the trip were incredible! After visiting Masada and floating in the Dead Sea, we ascended to Jerusalem where we watched a beautiful sunset over the city. The next day we toured the old city of Jerusalem, learning about 3,000 years-worth of history and civilization. We then visited the Western Wall for Kabbalat Shabbat, joining hundreds of people in singing and dancing. On the last day, after visiting Yad Vashem, we went to Ramat HaSharon where we learned about Café Europa, a special JDC program that provides Holocaust survivors the opportunity to socialize and engage in the arts. We had a terrific time singing and dancing with Holocaust survivors. As the trip came to a close, we reflected on our experiences together and the moments that touched us the most. It was the perfect ending to such an unforgettable trip!