Grade 9 Israel Experience Day 2: Exploring Tzfat and Hiking!

By Alex M & Adam P

We woke up for the first time in Israel and went downstairs to have a delicious Israel breakfast at the hotel- shakshuka, cheese, lots of different salads, you name it. Our first stop for the day was the mystical city of Tzfat. Many houses and walls in Tzfat are painted blue, to match the color of the sky. We learned from Nave that this is to confuse the “evil spirits,” so they don’t notice Tzfat high up in the mountains while flying by it!

At 10 AM we paused our tour to listen to the Yom Hashoah siren- the siren goes for 2 minutes and almost everyone in Israel stops what they are doing- even if they are in their car on a busy highway- to listen to it and remember those lost in the Holocaust.

Afterwards, we learned about Kabbalah- the Jewish mystical tradition- and gained a deeper understanding on what it is and its history. Tzfat was the center of Kabbalistic learning for hundreds of years, through today. We entered the synagogue of HaAri (Rabbi Isaac ben Solomon Luria Ashkenazi), who was a great teacher of Kabbalah. and heard a very interesting story about someone who accidentally dodged a bullet by bowing for the prayer called Modim during the Amidah. After going to the synagogue, we went to the Tzfat Kabbalah Center. We listened to a husband-and-wife band, who played beautiful music inspired by Jewish mysticism.

Of course, we had to make time to go shopping in Tzfat’s famous arts district. Everyone bought presents for their family and themselves and it was amazing to see all of the various art that the people of Tzfat create.

Later on, we went back on the bus and drove to Nahal Amud where we went hiking. The hike was very enjoyable because there were many nice views along the way to the little creek at the end of the trail. Once we got to the creek, many people instantly jumped into the river since it was extremely hot and sunny on our hike so far.

Even though we got back to the hotel around 5 from our hike, everyone was so tired from our learning and hiking we did not have much energy to do much else at night! After a tasty dinner and a quick stroll around Tiberias’ main promenade, we went up to our rooms to rest up for another busy day tomorrow.