After packing the bus, exchanging money and settling in with our bus buddies we set off for the kibbutz. Our tour guide, Oren, introduced himself, our driver (also Oren, funnily enough), and our security guard Amit (Amit was packin' heat). They took us to a diggity dope restaurant where we had a late dinner of pita with hummus and various side dishes. Upon eating our fill we filed back onto the party bus and drove to the kibbutz where we'll be staying the next three nights. This morning we got a "late start" according to Oren with a breakfast at 8:00 and orientation activities at 9. Once Oren had aquianted us with the trip we gathered our gear and loaded onto the bus, heading for the Arbel Cliffs overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Bleating goats shouted encouragements as we made our way up the trail to the edge of the cliffs where Oren explained about the nature of Israel's water difficulties. Up at the top we watched a mother goat nurse her two newborns while her fresh placenta (that description courtesy of Polina) lay a few feet away. The kids struggled to stand on their new legs while we watched some Israeli children test the mother's patience by petting the babies. After Oren finished his speech we had a little free time at the top of the cliff we went back to the bus and went to the town of Tiberius. There we split into groups and explored the streets in search of a lunch. Many of us had our first Israeli falafel (which were of course delicious). We reconvened at the bus and returned to the kibbutz for some free time before shabbat services and dinner. The dining room was packed with guests and we enjoyed a delicious meal before another group bonding session and a night to explore the kibbutz. We can't wait to see what shabbat in Isreal holds for us tomorrow!
The Brody Jewish Center, Hillel at the University of Virginia, is the focal point in a renaissance of Jewish life for the 1,000 Jewish students on Grounds.