Today is Tuesday, June 10. Although this blog is being written at 11:36 PM Israel time, it is 4:36 PM in Atlanta! This is a short blog today because I just received my SIM card for my phone so I haven't been able to take any pictures yet! So, tomorrow there will be another short"ish" blog with a link to pictures.
Here is what we have done so far: We arrived, went to our hotel (Alexander Suites - BEAUTIFUL!!!), left our bags and went straight to our first Israeli meal - a buffet at the Tal Hotel which is right around the corner from our hotel. After a somewhat normal night of sleep - many of us were still getting rid of jet lag - we woke up this morning to a gorgeous Tel Aviv morning. The sun was shining brightly, a nice breeze was blowing and our hotel breakfast was outstanding!
After breakfast, we traveled to a large apple orchard that is managed by the LEKET program. These fields were donated by a very generous man with one condition - that the LEKET Israel organization find volunteer groups to collect the food to be donated to the poor. So, we spent about 90 minutes out in the strong Israeli sun and picked about 1700 pounds of apples - enough to serve approximately 200 families! What a wonderful moment to do a mitzvah for those who are in need in Israel. This was truly a wonderful start to our program.
Next we traveled to the Carmel Market - a wonderful art and food fair that is open on Tuesdays and Fridays. We had some free time to shop, people watch and eat! After a couple of hours in the market, we traveled to the Palmach Museum - a wonderful interactive museum that takes us back to 1941 to explore the journey of a young group of Israelis who learn to fight and defend the Jewish homeland prior to the State of Israel being born. The Palmach fighters became the Elite fighters in the IDF once the State of Israel was born.
After the Palmach museum, we traveled to the oldest seaport in the world, Jaffa (going all the way back to Jonah!). Kobi, our outstanding tour guide took us around to show us some great shops and art as well as teaching the story of Jaffa, going all the way back to Biblical times. After an exhausting day in which the TKE family members learned and experienced quite a lot, the day ended with a beautiful sunset over the Mediterranean Sea, followed by dinner and then sleep....
L'hitraot (so long) until tomorrow!!!