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  • Writer's pictureLauren

Israel: The Place

While in Israel we stayed in three distinct cities, Capernaum, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and had the chance to experience the best parts of all of them.We started off our trip in Capernaum which is on the Sea of Galilee. Fun fact the Sea of Galilee is actually a big lake. This is where Jesus performed many of his miracles. We stayed on a kibbutz which is a farming community, it was right on the water and one of the days I woke up to see the sun rise and it was one of the most beautiful and calming things that I have experienced.

Israel is a place with deep religious roots. One of the reasons why Israel even became a country is because of the ties and history that the Jewish people have with the land of Israel (see already can't separate them). Though the land of Israel is important to the Jewish people it is also very significant to the Christian and Muslim religious as well. As a Christian, it was incredibly powerful to travel around the places where Jesus walked and performed so many miracles. While in Capernaum we also went to go see the old home of Jesus and the Church of the Beatitudes where he gave the sermon of the mount. We also visited the top of Mount Bental. From there you can see Israel, Palestine, Syria and other countries that are neighboring Israel. It is a spectacular view of the Middle East.

After Capernaum, which is a bit more rural and farmland-ish, we traveled to Jerusuelum. One of m y favorite parts of Jerusalem is that everything there is made up of Jerusalem sandstone, which is this vibrant sandy yellow colored stone that gives all of the buildings, no matter how modern an old feel. It also makes the city look incredibly uniform. One of the my favorite sites from the entire trip, actually wasn't something that was Christian, it was a muslim site called the Dome of the Rock. The Dome of the Rock represents that place where Muslims believe the prophet rose to the heavens and talked to Allah. It is the place where heaven and earth collide and it is breathtaking. Almost like a little piece of heaven was brought to earth. The designs are intricate and the colors, blue and gold are incredibly bold and beautiful to look at. Right near here is where the Western wall is located. Other religious sites that we visited included the church of the nativity and the church, the holy sepulcher and the Armenian church.

Something that you have to do when you go to Israel is visit the Dead Sea. We did this on our way to Tel A Viv. Our day at the Dead Sea was the most fun part of our trip and was a crazy experience. The Dead Sea is the Earth's lowest point of elevation and is one of the saltiest bodies of water. Because of the high salinity nothing can live in the Dead Sea, thus the name. Going to the Dead Sea is kinda like going to a little beachfront. There are little shops and bars around it and then you can walk down to the sea. Before I even walked down to the sea I saw a camel. His name was Pistachio and I had to ride him. The ride was a quick walk back and forth but it was incredibly fun, I felt like some type of cowgirl. If you ever ride a camel beware that the scariest part is after you mount and it has to get off of its knees, I thought I was going to fall off. When we were there it wasn't very warm, and I felt crazy going into the water on a windy day, but I was just kinda like you only get so many chances to do this, so I slapped some Dead Sea Mud on my body and literally jumped in. I love the water and being in the sea was amazing. It was shockingly warm and because of the high rate of salinity you practically float as soon as your feet leave the ground. Just be careful not to get in your mouth or your eye, from personal experience I can tell you that it is not fun. I really wanted to stay in the water for hours. It was extremely relaxing to just lay back and float, decompress and think about everything that I had experienced so far. It was also great that after we got out, because of all the minerals, my skin was glowing and extremely soft. From the dead sea we went to Tel Aviv which is the most modern part of Israel. From here we learned more about Israel from a modern perspective, learning about business, visiting the highest buildings and seeing all the shops and commerce.

Another great part of Israel was the food and the all the markets that they were in. Markets are a great part of Israeli culture, people go there for food, spices, and lots of fun. My favorite shuk was machane yehuda in Jerusalem. During the day the markets are bustling centers for food at night they become an open air collection of fun bars that sell 5 shekel shots that will have you dancing on the bar (not that I personally, did that…)



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