Our last day in Israel was a whirlwind of emotions and experiences, beginning with a continuation of our walking tour of Jaffa. There, we also learned about the origins of Tel Aviv; in 1909, 66 Jewish families decided to move outside the crowded and noisy city, gathering on a desolate sand dune to parcel out the land by lottery using seashells in what would become Tel Aviv (Aviv is Hebrew for “spring,” symbolizing renewal, and Tel is a mound of layers of civilization, symbolizing the ancient).
We debated some of the founding principles of the first modern Hebrew city before heading off to the temporary Independence Hall exhibition (the actual building is undergoing renovation) to relive the moments leading to the formation of the State of Israel. There, we listened to David Ben-Gurion’s declaration of independence on May 14, 1948, followed by the recitation of the Shehecheyanu and singing the Hatikvah.
We then made our way to the one-of-a-kind Shuk HaCarmel, where we spent a relaxing afternoon shopping for gifts and other tchotchkes, loading up on fruit smoothies and candy, and soaking up the atmosphere.
Afterward, we spent some time in the park with Eitan reflecting on our trip, sharing what we would put in our laundry bag (things we want to think or learn about more or improve upon from our trip), our trash bag (things we want to get rid of), and suitcase (things we want to take with us).
Tear-filled goodbyes (with plenty of laughter, too) followed at the Maganda restaurant in Tel Aviv before our long journey home to Pittsburgh … and …
… a special goodbye with words of deep gratitude for Mrs. Mazer, who has lead more than 20 Community Day School Israel trips with tireless energy, laser focus, bottomless wells of patience, expertise, a sense of humor, dedication to ensuring every child has a safe, educational, fun, and positive Israel experience from start to finish…and of course, plenty of love!