Man, I love the Israeli breakfast. Lots of veggies, cheeses, Bourikas (cheese filled pastries). We started the day with a visit to the retired Israeli bunker, Har Ben Tal. It was the site of a battle with the Syrians. I of course, should be nicknamed Grace, so I slipped and fell, scraping my right wrist, right hip, and left knee. Brilliant.
After that, we spent the late morning and early afternoon rafting down the Jordan river. Initially I felt really nervous, because they called it kayaking. It really was rafting, similar to the rafting I did in Nepal, but much less strenuous. Part of why it was much less strenuous was because Susie, Tanya, Shelly, and Barb did most of the paddling. Alina and I did a little, but I was sitting in the middle on the same side as Susie (our rock star) so my paddling conflicted with hers. I took a couple of photos with a water camera leftover from our cruise a year and a half ago, and I tossed the camera to another raft to have them get a photo of us. When they tossed it back, it fell into the water, and Susie DOVE in to get it!! Amazing.
After a brief lunch (thank you to the hotel for packing, but a little more filling on the very, very dry bread next time, please) we bussed to Sfat. Sfat, Tzfat, Safed, whatever you call it, it was awesome. We stopped at two separate synagogues. First was the Josef Caro synagogue. It was incredibly old but still in use. My favorite part was the alcove stuffed full with manuscripts and papers, all with the name of G-d on them. Once something has G-d’s name on it, you shouldn’t throw it out. You bury it or you store it. I’ve never seen anything like it. Some of those papers had to be over a thousand years old. We also visited the Ari Ashkenazi synagogue (Ari stood f0r Avinu Rabeinu Yitzchak, or Our Master Isaac, meaning Rabbi Isaac Luria). This place was a HUGE center of the study of Kabbalah. I wish we could have learned a lot more about the basics of Kabbalah, but the energy of the place was amazing. There was a chair called Kisei Shel Eliahu, said to be good luck for those women who sit in it and pray to have a child. It was an incredibly moving moment, beyond words really, to have Tanya and Hani and Sara and Judy and so many other women praying for me and with me. May G-d bless all the women who sit in that chair.
A little shopping time… what’s a women’s trip without a little shopping time? I did not buy much (I know Patrick probably is reading this and not believing). We had dinner at Art Café, a lovely light dairy meal, lots of salads and again some fish- salmon and a fish called “musht” in Hebrew, which I looked up on the Crackberry and it was St Peter’s fish (remember Master Chef, Patrick?). Not nearly as good as Decks, but it was nice (especially since the food was provided for us). After dinner was a talk by Pamela Clayton, who is an amazing philanthropist who spends much of her time doing work for the Israeli soldiers. We get to visit an army base tomorrow and give the thank you packets we made to the soldiers there. I can’t wait.