So last week was really boring. Class after class again. At the moment we have been getting ready got a bunch of field trips. One fore my Judaism course, and one for my Biblical Art class. They are supposed to be really exciting, so we have just been going over things that we should know about the places that we are going, and what to expect.
This past weekend however, was soooo much fun!!!!
My friend Larissa, and our Israeli friend Amit (from camp), took a road trip to the Jordan Valley and the Kenneret (a really big lake) to visit our other camp friend Ruvik. He lives with his wife in Kibbutz Degania Bet which is one of the first Kibbutzim in Israel. Just to give a quick idea of what a kibbutz is, it is a community where everyone lives together in a closed off area. Everyone in the community works together, eats together, everything together. It is a communal community, the job that you have on the kibbutz is for the community, and the things you earn you share with everyone. People sometimes share clothing, food, water, heat, electricity....you name it...they share it. It is sometimes compared to a camp, where your goal is to truly be an enriched, and loving community.
When Amit, Larissa and I got to the kibbutz Ruvik greeted us with open arms. He right away took us on a tour of the school that he works at, where he teaches sailing, and P.E. He then took us to the gym that he couches basketball. It was really wonderful, all of the basketball players are in the army, and they get together every shabbat to play, and hang out with Ruvik. He is clearly very popular in his community, because there was not one person that he didn't know. Ruvik reminds me a lot of my grandfather, which made be feel completely relaxed when I was with him.
When we got back to the kibbutz we put our things in his home, and met his wife. We then hopped on some bikes and took a tour of the kibbutz. We first went to the cemetery, which I immediately thought, why here, there are so many better places to go, this is so sad. Then Ruvik took us to a line of graves, and we realized that is was his family. His great-grandmother, great-grandfather, grandmother, grandfather, an father. He told us that he is a fourth generation living at the kibbutz. This was absolutely amazing, his family had been living here for years, and now he had children of his own, and grandchildren, that is 6 generations. Larissa and I were completely taken back.
After the cemetery, we rode our bikes to the farm, and got to look at the huge cow barn that they had there. We then got to pet the baby calves which was so much fun, Larissa and I were squealing the entire time. Amit and Ruvik were laughing at us, and were most likely thinking; "mmmmm, meat." When we got back to Ruvik's home, we washed up and got ready to go to dinner. We walked together to the dining hall where everyone was headed for a communal shabbat dinner. When we entered the building there were so many families sitting together, some of the kids we realized were 7th and 8th generation in the kibbutz. The meal was buffet style; chicken, fish, rice, veggies, salad, soup. It was amazing, we sat at a table with Ruvik's mother, sister, niece, and her new born baby girl. The entire dinner was filled with laughter, and kibbutz stories, and I think the best part was that most of it was in Hebrew, so I got a chance to practice what I had been learning for the past couple of months. After dinner, we walked around the kibbutz for a little bit, then spent the night in eating fresh fruit and watching a movie on the television.
The next morning, Ruvik, Amit, Larissa, and I took a long road trip up to the Golan. It was absolutely amazing, it felt like we were going up a million mountains (mostly because my ears were popping the entire time), then when we started getting closer to the top of one of the mountains, Ruvik told Larissa and I to close our eyes, and not open them until they told us to. The car stopped, and Ruvik took my hand (Amit took Larissa) and led me out of the car and what felt like the edge of a cliff. I was right, Ruvik told me to open my eyes and I realized I was on the top of a mountain over looking the Kenneret. It was so amazing, I could breathe for a minute because I was so taken back by what I was seeing. I felt like I was on the top of the world, and I could see until forever. We then started down the mountain, and headed to a town close to Mt. Hermon.
Ruvik had told us before that he wanted to take us to a very special restaurant for lunch, where we were going to have the best fallafel in the world. It truly was amazing, they gave you 4 fallafels' about the size of my fist. Then give you 6 hot out of the oven pitas', and every topping imaginable; salad, hummus with beans, eggplant, tehina, pickles, olives, peppers, cheese. It was amazing, we just dug right in and completely destroyed our meal, nothing was left. We then sat at the table for a little bit just chit-chatting about this coming summer (we are all working at camp again), and Larissa and I talked a bit about our amazing time in Israel so far.
After lunch, we got back into the car and started driving back to the Jordan Valley. On our way however, we stopped at this mountain/monument place where you had the most amazing view of Mount Hermon, you could see the snow that was on the very top, which was kind of funny because where we were was warm and sunny, and Mount Hermon is cold and windy. It was beautiful, we walked around for a bit and Ruvik and Amit gave us a quick history lesson on where we were. I wish I had listened more carefully, but I just could not get over the scenery. There was also a part where you could go underground and see the living quarters of the soldiers at the time. After we got out of the tunnel we headed back to the Kibbutz. We decided to have a quick ice cream break before going back to Jerusalem, so Ruvik took us to a chocolate place that was actually on the kibbutz, he then told us the people come from all over to eat their chocolate treats and ice cream. He was right, I had some amazing ice cream, it really hit the spot and made a great ending of an already wonderful day.
After ice cream we said our goodbyes to Ruvik, and headed back to Jerusalem. The ride back was very relaxing, we listened to music and talked about some activities that we wanted to do at camp, and got started with planning them actually. It was really nice to spend the weekend with Larissa because we don't get to see each other too much during the week. Plus, Amit and I have been wanting to get together since I got to Israel, but it had been really hard because of all the work I had been doing for school. Now we are going to be hanging out more before I leave. Then we get to hang out for the whole summer.
Blessings to my loves!!!