De Karina Chocolate Factory

We are in the Golan Heights for the day, which included a trip to Mount Bental to see the border with Syria and learn about Israeli efforts in the Six-Day War and Yom Kippur War. Our tour guide, Ilan, also spoke about the current conflict in Syria and emphasized that Israel’s commitment to bringing injured Syrian civilians (and often soldiers, as well) to Israeli hospitals speaks to core aspects of what it means to be a Jewish State. Yes, it is demographically Jewish. But more than that, Israel lives up to its mission to build a Jewish sovereign nation according to ancient values.

We just had a chocolate workshop at the De Karina factory, located at Kibbutz Ein Zivan. The owner moved with her family from Argentina over ten years ago and set up the factory according to her family’s recipes. Check out our expert chocolatiers.

Morning hike in Golan

We journeyed into the Golan Heights for a beautiful hike at Gamla nature reserve, which is also the site of a battle between Roman forces and Jewish rebels in 67 CE. We took ten minutes during the two-hour hike to walk in total silence, taking in the wonder around us.

Working the land on Tu Bishvat

Last night we headed to farmland in the Galil to volunteer weeding an avocado orchard. Students dug deep in to the Earth and enjoyed feeling one with the land of Israel. Several students brought up last year’s Talmud unit that focuses on agricultural tithes of pe’ah, leket, and shichecha, commandments specifically connected to the land of Israel. We concluded the evening with dinner around the fire, under a full moon. Yom Huledet Sameach to Avi, who celebrated his eighteenth birthday on Tu Bishvat!

Happy Birthday Avi!

Lunch in Druze Village

For lunch, we stopped in Da’aliyat al-Carmel for a delicious and authentic lunch at Nura’s Restaurant. Following lunch, Nura spoke to us about the Druze culture and religion. She spoke about the fierce loyalty that Israeli Druze have toward the state, most clear in her family by one son who is a police commander and another who is an combat engineer officer in the IDF. Students were particularly interested in the Druze belief in reincarnation, which fosters a philosophy of always being mindful of every person one interacts with, as they could be your relative in a previous life.

Evening at Givat Haviva

We spent the evening with high school students at Givat Haviva, an International Baccalaureate high school program that hosts 25% Israeli Jewish, 25% Palestinian, and 50% international students. Givat Haviva will be celebrating its 70th anniversary as a center for coexistence. Our students loved the opportunity to learn from their peers and now are enjoying evening activities of salsa dancing and soccer.

Salsa