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by Shelley Greenfield

Today started out with another (incredible) breakfast at the Kibbutz after checking out of our guest houses. The breakfast in Israel is like no other – fresh veggies and fruit, various salads, fresh baked bread, hot dishes…it is more like a lunch then breakfast.

We left Kibbutz Dalia to continue our journey through Israel. We stopped in Kohav Yair where we were able to see Tel Aviv up to Natanya. Yona (our guide) told us many facts about the area as this is his hometown. We were also near the green line again where there was another checkpoint.

When we arrived in Jerusalem we headed to the Machane Yehuda market to meet Ruth Yudekowitz, a local chef who has an event at her home called “Shuk and Cook.” We were given shopping lists and dove right in to the hustle and bustle of shopping for our Shabbat dinner. There is a definite sense of urgency in the air that Shabbat is coming. It was fun to see foods and fruits of all all colors and shapes, spices, breads, pastries, fish, and so much more. We also ate a quick lunch on the run while pushing through the crowds of people everywhere.

After shopping we were off to Ruths home to prepare and cook our dinner with everything we bought. We were given recipes and prepared many dishes.

We went to check into the hotel and gathered in the lobby to light the Shabbat candles. After lighting the candles, we began our walk to the Kotel – the Western Wall. This was the part of the trip that I was most looking forward to. After many years of Jewish education, the Western Wall is always the first image that comes to mind when I think of Israel…and why not, it is the holiest site in the world for the Jewish people and I was going to that site!

Walking to the wall was full of many paths of twists and turns which would lead to the 4 quarters of the old city – Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Armenian. After much walking we were told to get in a line, close our eyes, place our hands on the shoulders in front of us and slowly walk forward. We then stopped and opened our eyes – there it was, the Wall I had heard about forever right in front of me. I was there! I had so many different feelings at this moment – from awe struck to amazement, happiness, and so much more! We took a few minutes to take it all in and then headed down to the wall to see it and touch it! Men to the left, women to the right. It was so traditional yet felt like chaos – organized chaos as described by a fellow Rubinite. It was definitely a moving experience.

We then headed over to Ruth’s house to eat the delicious meal that we all prepared. We had fun watching Doobie the dog perform many tricks and hung out for a while before heading back to the hotel. It was a very jam packed day and very meaningful from a deeply spiritual standpoint.