This past December I had the incredible opportunity of traveling around Israel for 10 days. The trip was through an organization called Birthright, which takes young Jewish adults to explore the land of their heritage. Our journey began in the North, Tiberius, where we took a jeep ride through the Golan Heights and explored ancient ruins at the Tel Dan Nature Reserve. We got to ride up to the top of Mount Bental, witnessing the intersection of Israel, Jordan, and Syria, and then visited an Arab village in a set of neighboring mountains. A restaurant there served the best falafel sandwich I have ever had! The food in Israel was definitely a major highlight; hummus, tahini, and a plethora of different salads composed most of my diet while there.
Standing before the Western Wall was a monumental moment for me on the trip. It is a place that I have long learned about but never imagined I would see in person. As per tradition, I left a note in a crack in the wall. Walking around the rest of Jerusalem, and witnessing places of historical significance for Jews, Muslims, and Christians, was incredibly eye-opening as to the importance of a single city to so many religious groups.
I was lucky enough to also have adventures floating in the Dead Sea, spending a night under the stars in a Bedouin Camp, and exploring Tel-Aviv night life. In 10 days I fell in love with Israel and its natural beauty, rich culture, and unique history. I sincerely hope I am able to go back to Israel for study abroad; I cannot wait to further explore and get to know the country and its people.