Great Beauty and Reminders of Ugliness

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Yesterday we went to a second beach on the Dead Sea to soak again. This time we went to Ein Gedi. The beach looked quite promising from the parking lot with umbrellas and a covered walkway. This was all, however, up a very rocky hill from the actual “beach”. You literally had to scurry down the rocky hillside to the rocky shore to wade in. The water was much deeper and cooler than in Ein Bokek and it was lots of fun floating there. We spoke to a group of German tourists and a couple of Birthright guys as well. The sensation of floating weightlessly in the water and actually being forced out of the water practically was amazing. It really was a wonder of nature.

Later in the evening when we returned to our outpost at Aroma in Ein Bokek. On the way in we were a bit puzzled by the overly zealous guard as usually they just waved us through. This time the guard was checking the trunk of every vehicle before opening the gate. When we got inside and online we discovered the reason – there had been an attack near Eilat by terrorists. Several people had been killed and there continued to be violence throughout the evening and into today with rockets coming from Gaza into Israel and the IDF firing into Gaza to destroy the tunnel through which these tourists had come into Gaza from Egypt.

This morning we headed back to Ein Bokek to get online and check on the current situation. Things looked quiet so we headed off on our drive through the desert to Mashbeh Sa’de. We took a back route where we only saw about 20 cars from Ein Bokek to our destination. The scenery was gorgeous. Very much a mix of the Bad Lands, Monument Valley and, according to Steve, Sierra Nevada. Can’t wait to get the pictures up. At one point we were on a two way road through winding hills that was really only one lane wide. Steve was laughing at me honking before going around all the blind curves. There were many signs for camels alongside the road and I was getting quite upset that there were so many signs and NO camels. We finally did see some “free range” camels wandering along the side of the road and up on the hills near the road. We also saw a donkey and its foal crossing the road in a little town in the cross walk. Lots of pictures of that to come as well.

We are now at the peaceful kibbutz of Mashabeh Sade which is south of Be’er Sheva. We had no problems getting here and saw no sign of trouble. The kibbutz is lovely and laid back. Steve and I got here around noon and need some lunch. Around five minutes before 1:00 we wandered over to the office to see where we could go. There is a store on the kibbutz but it was closing in 5 minutes. Steve and I were walking as fast as we could and an old woman came along in a golf cart. She told us that the store would be closed already. We said we were told we had a couple minutes. She told me to “get on” and drove me at “break-neck” speed to the store. It was quite exciting and we literally made it there as they were closing up the store. With hummus, Bulgari cheese and crackers as well as some nuts and dried fruit, we headed back to the room to eat lunch. We have now met up with the Lessings and are getting ready for a beautiful Shabbat and celebration of Elana’s bat mitzvah. Wishing everyone a restful and lovely weekend and Sabbath. Praying for peace here in Israel and everywhere.

b’vrachot,

Nance

About nancesea

I live in Seattle with my husband Steve. I work as a Jewish educator, primarily teaching middle schoolers. My hobbies, when I have time, are reading, writing, music, and photography. I am passionate about teaching the lessons of the darkest periods history to help inspire my students to assure our future is brighter. I am a Museum Teacher Fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Museum and Memorial. I travel yearly to Central and Eastern Europe to continue to learn about this history and make connections with educators there doing similar work. I hope you enjoy my writing on my travels, my learning and Jewish thought and practice. B'vrachot - with blessings - Nance

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