Junior Journey: Day One in Israel

Rabbi Dean Kertesz
Our first 24 hours were packed with activities and feel more like a week than a day, but before I go into any details I want to share that the day passed peacefully and was wonderful. A quick digression into the current security situation. Today was fairly quiet. Keshet, our tour company monitors the security situation daily and we will continue to make adjustments to our schedule as necessary. For the students on our journey though, today was a day of fun and learning.
We began our day with a lovely breakfast at the Ohalo guest house on the shore of the Kinnert and then drove to the Arbel a high plateau that looks down on the Kinneret. We hiked up a gentle slope to the top of the Arbel to enjoy a breathtaking view that looks over the northern Gallil, with views of Safed to the north and Gallil to the west and the Golan Heights to the East. We then hiked around the Arbel for a total hike of about 4 miles through fields of blooming wildflowers and bright green grass. It felt great to get some exercise, appreciate the beauty of Israel in the spring, and feel the wind and the sun after a long flight and bus ride the day before.
After our hike we boarded our bus and drove south for a delicious lunch near Yoqneam and recharged our batteries. Following lunch we drove to Zarzir, a Beduoin village in the Gallil, near Nahalal and met with a Bedouin woman, Jalila, who spoke with us about the realities of life in Israel for the Bedouin Arab minority. The students were interested and engaged and asked great questions, despite serious jetlag.
For our final activity of the day we met with students of a mechina program at Kibbutz Kfar Rupin. Mechinot are special, year-long programs for Israeli young men and women between their high school graduation and the start of their military service, where they study community service and democratic values. One of our JCHS graduates, Sophia Brodie-Weisberg '18 is participating in this mechina. Our students and the menchina participants spent time getting to know each other through fun, ice breaker activities and then ate dinner together. 
Now we are all at Kibbutz Afik on the southern Golan Heights, which will be our home for tonight and tomorrow night. Hopefully, we all will get a good night's sleep tonight and be ready for a full day with the mechina students tomorrow.
To see more photos from the Journey, visit our Facebook page!
Jewish Community High School of the Bay
1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: 415.345.9777
The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS) is a unique college preparatory high school committed to integrating deep learning, universal wisdom, and Jewish values. We empower each student to embrace her or his Jewish identity, generate empathy and compassion, delight in lifelong education, and improve the world.