Monday, September 27, 2010

Final Friday Service Project

After finishing up finals on Friday (hallelujah-this semester was a killer) 
a group of us went over to the children's hospital in East Jerusalem.
Every semester students from the JC paint a mural on one of the
hospital's boring white walls to liven up the environment for the kids.
Our group decided that this was definitely a worthwhile tradition to continue :)
The more artistically gifted members of the group outlined jungle animals
out for us and the rest of us decorated them to our heart's content.
Melissa and I creatively beautified this lovely alligator.

We had an absolute blast,the mural turned out amazing,
(The finished project was much better than these pictures show), 
and the kids at the hospital were adorable.
It was the perfect way to spend my last Friday in Jerusalem.
Especially because we ran to a bakery afterwards to pick up one last loaf of challah bread :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Masada and the Dead Sea

Our last out of Jerusalem field trip was to Masada-and let me tell you they saved the
hottest for last. Words cannot even begin to describe how brutally hot it was.
It was so hot, in fact, that they actually let us wear shorts.
That NEVER happens at the JC. It was a big deal. I felt like I was the Wicked Witch of the West melting
into a little pile of sweat. Graphic I know....I'm sorry haha but its true.
Masada was still awesome though, despite the heat.

Masada was the last Jewish settlement taken over by the Romans. 
They were able to defend their city for so long because of its location-the top of a high plateau.
The Romans got around this by building a huge ramp up to the settlement.
The Jews of Masada saw the Romans coming and knew that their dismal fate was imminent.
Rather than waiting for the Romans to capture their city and sell them into slavery,
they decided to commit mass suicide.
By the time the Romans reached the top of the plateau, the entire population of Masada was dead.
Ruins were all that was left.

Desperately searching for shade as we melted in the sun

The remnants of the Roman siege ramp

We descended down Masada and went to take a dip in the Dead Sea.
Swimming in the Dead Sea is an absolute must for anyone traveling to Israel.
Swimming in the Dead Sea experience. The water is not at all refreshing, the salt content of the water is so high that it stings like crazy, the mud smells like sulphur, and you feel grimy for days afterwards
but the feeling of complete floating is amazing!
Seriously, I tried as hard as I could to sink but it was hopeless.
So cool.

After rinsing off in some fresh water and attempting to get rid of the salt residue
coating our skin, we went on a hike to the Ein Gev waterfalls.
It was absolutely beautiful and totally worth the 110 degree hike :)

Our last stop of the day was at Qumran.
This cave was where they found the Dead Sea Scrolls.