Our Hebrew word of the day– יאללה or Yalla!–is actually not Hebrew; it’s Arabic used as Hebrew slang for “Let’s go.” And “let’s go” we sure did today … and then some …
Our morning began with a visit to Psagot School in the Karmiel-Misgav area, Pittsburgh’s Partnership region in Israel. The CDS Class of 2017 has been developing bonds with middle school students here throughout the year as e-mail pen pals, so having the opportunity to meet face-to-face was exciting. The universal language of all teenagers filled any gaps in our Hebrew and their English. Thank you to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh for building and supporting our relationship with the Partnership region.
After playing some ice-breaker games, the Psagot students proudly gave their CDS visitors a tour of their school, and then we walked to the nearby Karmiel Family Park. With breathtaking mountain views of the Lower Galilee and spectacular playground equipment, it was the perfect place to better get to know our Israeli friends, who will join us for our adventures in the Golan Heights tomorrow.
Here’s a peek at some of the fun:
From Karmiel, we traveled back about 1,800 years ago to the time and place where the Mishnah was compiled by Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi (Judah the Prince). At Kfar Kedem, they recreate the way of life of our Jewish ancestors in the Galilee, teaching visitors how ancient peoples worked the land and some wisdom of our second-century sages. The donkey rides and delicious “Hafla” lunch are an annual CDS Israel trip favorite, and this year didn’t disappoint. And don’t forget the practically required souvenir…a T-shirt that reads: “Do It On A Donkey!”
Then it was on to rafting on the “mighty” Jordan River, which flowed calmly until a small rapid at the end sent Aly for an unexpected, but refreshing dip in the water–and Niv tumbling over afterward trying to pull Aly back in the boat.
This experience was cited as a highlight of the day during our evening debrief, as was meeting the Israeli youth. “They are so fun to talk to,” Naomi said. Ariella and Yoni encouraged the group to continue deepening those relationships tomorrow by asking the Karmiel students all about “growing up Israeli,” from their favorite movies and TV shows to harder questions about life in Israel in times of war and with the threat of terror. Stay tuned …