Tradition - not the Broadway musical song, but the real deal. The Hebrew prayers and readings of the Torah are the same words that have been spoken for centuries. We were about to say these words among the ruins of a 4th century synagogue in the Golan Heights.
Two members of our group, Caroline and Abby, lead a lovely abbreviated service as part of their B'nai Mitzvah. Rabbi Max Weiss summed it up perfectly before the closing prayer.
I'm not sure what the symbolism is here, but during our outdoor service we had some unusual guests drop by!
Our next stop dealt with some of Israel's political and military history - we drove to Mt. Bental with its abandoned bunker at the top. The bunker was no longer needed after 1973, when high tech defense took its place. The panoramic views are beautiful, yet foreboding with the border of Syria on one side and Lebanon on the other.
For another perspective, we then took a Jeep off-road tour up the Golan Heights, this time to an abandoned Syrian bunker.
The issues in this region are complicated; although there is underlying tension, I always felt safe - even when I saw dozens of "Danger - Mines!" signs along the road!
Our final stop for the day was a refreshing one - a chance to go rafting down the Jordan River. Our group of six - Sara and I along with the Sensat family - Lisa, Jason and their sons Emet and Michael - were having a great time until we got to the ONLY rapid along the river - and a wimpy one at that! #Embarrassing #HadToBePushedDown
Our drive back to the hotel was restful and scenic. We passed beautiful Lake Kinneret, rows of banana plants, even almond trees!
Our evening ended on a high note. After dinner we celebrated one of our travel companion's birthday - but as we finished singing "Happy Birthday," we were all surprised by what happened next in the dining room!
A magical way to segue into the next leg of our journey. Tomorrow we head to Jerusalem.