Blog Post by Addi S.
Many impactful things have happened to me as well as the rest of the group in the 10 days we’ve been on this trip. Personally and surprisingly one of the events that impacted me the most was the Makhtesh Ramon. This crater, 25 miles long and some 1600 feet deep at its deepest, was not named after the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon – who tragically died – but it was named after the Romans. The initial thing that interested me was the name. It is a very common misconception to the Israeli people that the crater was named after Ilan Ramon, but it happens to be a coincidence that Ramon’s last name was Ramon. Since this mistake was so common, they decided to make a museum in Ramon’s honor.
Before entering the museum, I was expecting it to be about the crater itself. Upon entrance, I was met with an interactive and engaging exhibit about both Ilan Ramon and Asaf Ramon; Ilan’s son who died similarly 5 and 1/2 years later. The group was met with a room with a projector and seats, so I sat down expecting to take a quick nap during the video they were showing. As the video started I became increasingly interested and wanted to keep watching, rather than sleeping. The video showed Ramon as a passionate, loving, happy, family-oriented man and though I knew prior about his death, I found myself hoping his space ship wouldn’t malfunction and he wouldn’t die. By the end of the movie, I had tears in my eyes and suddenly the curtains behind the projector opened to a beautiful view of the inside of the crater. The view was so amazing it almost seemed surreal, but in fact there was the massive crater directly in front of me.
Archaeological Dig in Beit Guvrin
Blog Post by Rafe E.
We started the day by going on a walking tour of the Rampart Walls from the Jaffa gate to the Zion gate. These walls protected Jerusalem from outside attacks, with archers lining the top and behind small slits.
Next, we explored the Southern Wall excavations and learned about the various groups that have controlled Jerusalem since it was built—the city has been captured and reestablished under new control more than 30 times.
After another lunch in the Jewish Quarter, we boarded the buses and headed to the Israel museum. There we saw an expansive model of the Temple and the Old City, as well as an exhibit on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Hundreds of scrolls have been found in the desert and are in various archives and museums around the world, and together they constitute the oldest copy of the Bible that has been discovered.
Tonight we will enjoy a relaxed dinner at the hotel and have some free time to relax. Tomorrow we will hike in the Jerusalem foothills and go to the Knesset for a tour of the Israeli parliament.
Desert Camping & Hiking in Ramat HaNegev
Blog Post by Jesse A.
Today we woke up early to a beautiful sunrise in the Negev desert. Due to the extreme heat, everyone ate a quick breakfast and soon after began our early morning hike through the desert. Although we were not able to hike all day, I personally can say I experienced one of the most amazing scenes. A clear blue sky and hills of ancient rock filled as far as my eyes could reach. What struck me most was the main destination of our journey: the oasis that seemed so out of place in such an arid place. Just under my feet I was plopped above clear water, and above me all I could see was the rocks. The last leg of the hike consisted of a steep climb to where we would finally reach the air conditioned buses. Woohoo! Each person successfully made it all the way up and was applauded by the entire IST community. The Negev taught me a very important lesson: Even if your entire body is covered in dust; even if it’s over 100 degrees outside; and even if you get little to no sleep; when you’re surrounded by a loving group of 90+ people, all the obstacles wash away and turn into lifelong memories.
Snorkeling & Water Sports in Eilat
Shabbat at Kibbutz Ketura