Jerusalem

Day 8:

We were up at 5:30 the next morning for our sunrise camel ride!

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My new buddy, I call him Carl.

After we left our camels we ate breakfast and, you guessed it, we hopped back on the bus to head to our next stop! We made a short stop to pay our respects at Ben Gurion’s grave in Negev. Most of the heads of state in Israel are buried on Mount Herzl, but Ben Gurion chose to be buried in the Negev because he had envisioned that area of Israel being inhabited despite the harsh environment of the desert.

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Paying respects to Ben Gurion and his wife. In the Jewish religion it is customary to leave stones on graves instead of flowers. The stone is symbolic of the lasting presence of that person’s memory.

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After that it was time to go to Jerusalem which would be our final stop of the trip. After seven nights staying in hostels we were on our way to the Dan Jerusalem Hotel! Before we dropped our stuff at the hotel we paid a visit to Mount Herzl which is the final resting place for most of Israel’s heads of state as well as a military cemetery. The cemetery was also our last stop of the trip with our soldiers.

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Day 9:

After the best nights sleep I think any of us had since the trip began, we started our day in the Old City of Jerusalem and visited the Western Wall.

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School children in the Old City preparing for an upcoming festival celebrating Jerusalem.

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After leaving the Old City we went back to Mount Herzl, this time towards the bottom of the mountain to visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. The museum took almost three hours to walk through and was incredibly moving; if you are ever in Israel you should really try to visit.

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After Yad Vashem we had some free time at the Machane Yehudah market to do some shopping for souvenirs and grab some lunch before heading back to the hotel for Shabbat services.

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The view from our hotel was incredible so we took advantage of it before Shabbat services and took some pictures! We were also lucky enough to have our services out on this patio with this incredible view of Jerusalem.

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Day 10:

Our last day in Israel was spent in the hotel because it was Shabbat, but once Shabbat ended we went to Ben Yehudah Street for one last night out before our flight in the morning!

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My ten days in Israel were incredible. I have never felt so welcome somewhere by the local people. They all welcomed us to Israel with open arms; they made sure that we knew that Israel was our home too and that we could come back any time. We somehow managed to squeeze an entire country into ten short days and while I have never been more exhausted in my life, I would hop on a plane tomorrow and do it all again.

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Flying home to LA!!

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