June 1 just so happens to be Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of the day in 1967 when Jerusalem was recaptured and made a part of Israel once again. We celebrated by taking our group into the Old City for a walking tour and to see the Kotel. After we made our way from the Haas Promenade, an overlook from where you can see the whole city and wound our way to the Old City, we lined the group up with their eyes closed and set the scene for the view they were about to see. We asked them to think about how lucky they were to be in this place on such a special day, to think about their families and theit ancestors who might never seen the view they were about to see. Then we asked them to open their eyes. It was pretty powerful to hear their audible gasps. Then we gave them time to pray at the wall and leave notes.
Afterwards it was time for lunch and we opted to stay in the Jewish Quarter. It was so cool to see and feel the energy of the city on Jerusalem Day. Especially after the Mega Event last night. It is so cool to be a part of something so much bigger than myself. To see the 3,000 participants gather with the donors, soldiers and government officials and realize that we are only 1% of the Birthright family. It's pretty awesome. Our trip is about 1/2 way over and I'm already trying to figure out how I can get back here again and stay involved with this incredible organization.
We are on our way from Jerusalem to the Negev now, and we'll head back to Jerusalem for Shabbat and to wrap up the trip. But first we have a couple of exciting days planned in the desert, including floating in the Dead Sea, climbing Masada and sleeping in a Bedoin Tent.