By 8:30am Wednesday, Bus 541 was speeding through sharp turns (switchbacks) on a narrow Cliffside road overlooking valleys in Northern Israel on its way to the Jordan River. In the back of the bus we agreed that if we were to launch off the cliff’s edge that we would request our tip money back from Birthright.
Safe and sound at the river, poorly fitting life vests strapped, we loaded 10-or-so rafts with 4-6 people in each (or seven if you were on Amit’s raft). The two-hour ride was only what your group made it, some of whom were content taking photos and enjoying the casualness of the float, while others engaged in full contact water battles overboard.
A quick 30-minute drive landed 541 in Tzvat, a true cultural, spiritual and structural representation of Israel. Following a walk through the 16th-century Ashkenazi Ari Synagogue, our Tzvat visit culminated at Avraham’s “Gallery of Mystical Art”. Avraham grew up in Michigan and through years of inner exploration and spiritual progression he relocated to Israel to study Kabala and practice art.
Avraham spoke in slow, almost psychedelic tones and continued to express his amazement in the situation, frequently saying things like; “You guys, isn’t this great? All of us here, together, in Israel?” Personally, I caught his vibe and my eyes opened while his lullaby rocked a few of the others to sleep – three people passed out. The drowzee group boarded Bus 541.
“If Avraham has a podcast we should just put that on for the next two hours,” said Mike from Massachusetts, before we began what ended up being a nearly silent ride to the Kibbutz Alogom.
It was 4:22pm in real life (the large clock at the front of the bus reads 8:17am and has not displayed the correct time at any point) when we made a precarious stop in the Jordan Valley in Area C for a bathroom break – 10 minutes of security clearance allowed.
At the next Kibbutz, we began our short stay with a quick Bar/Bat Mitzvah program session of singing and a bit of clapping. Sounds like we’ll have 7-10 people participating on Sunday night, including myself.
Day 2 ended at the Kibbutz’ bar and patio, where we kicked back and enjoyed some adult beverages and reminisced a bit. Masada in the morning.
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