Exploring Our Jewish Roots with Harlam

Dear Yallah! Israel Families,

We had a jam-packed, adventure-filled, and inspirational week in Israel! Time sure flies when you are having fun! This week the participants got to choose from two different immersive experiences. Many hiked from the Sea of Galilee to the Mediterranean in the famous “Sea to Sea” trek. The other half chose to engage in Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, through community service opportunities in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

After coming back together on Wednesday, we reflected on our unique experiences. The last couple of days we have been exploring our Jewish Roots in the Galilee. We visited the most beautiful mosaics in Israel at Tzippori, where we learned about the creation of the Mishna, when Jews in Israel were a minority living under the Roman empire. On this site we discussed the experience of holding on to Jewish identity as a minority in the modern world. Today we went to Tzfat, the city of Kabbalah, and learned about Jewish mysticism and the creation of Kabbalat Shabbat as an outdoor mystical experience by the sages of Tzfat in the 16th century.

With this extra layer of understanding of Shabbat, we look forward to entering Shabbat in the Jezreel Valley.

In this week’s Torah Reading, Moses describes begging to enter the Promised Land, a place many Jews will yearn for in future generations. Throughout our journey in Israel, we have learned that yearning for a better place is a process that is ongoing after crossing the Jordan River into the mainland. Perhaps this continuous effort is a stronger component of Jewish identity than the destination itself. As we continue on our journey, we discover the real Promised Land we aspire to is the loving space of the community we’ve created together.

Shabbat Shalom,

The Yallah! Israel team

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