By Sarah Naveh, NFTY in Israel Participant, Bus 2
After 4 tiring days of Chavayot, Bus 2 finally arrived at Kibbutz Hukuk (Hakuk Balev). We got our room assignments, and since we were able to request roommates, most people were very happy. The kibbutz has a playground that we can hang around at, swing, exercise, and hang eno’s! Although our daily meals have not changed (schnitzel, rice, and potatoes), we love being able to sit with our friends every morning and night. That night, we celebrated the Fourth of July by lighting sparklers and listening to patriotic music such as “Party in the USA”. After that, our lovely counselors gave us time to hang out together and celebrate the holiday, as well as just get closer. At around 10:15pm, we were all spread out around the kibbutz, and felt the earth shake beneath us. This crazy natural event, although small, scared us, but at the same time, it gave us one more experience to think back on and reminisce about.
Our days consist of wake up, breakfast, and going out for not only fun outings, but educational trips where our lovely Hannah teaches us about the rich history of our Holy Land. On Thursday, we first hiked down Mount Arbel, seeing stunning views and strengthening bonds on the way. Then, we went to Kinneret Cemetery (bodies of workers of Kibbutz Kinneret) and learned of their struggles in working and how the life back then is so different from ours. After that, the counselors took us on a surprise trip to a chocolate factory! We were taught about how chocolate is made and it’s journey from the Cacao seed to delicious, creamy milk chocolate. We then went to pizur lunch at an outdoor mall with an amazing burger restaurant, a delicious sushi bar, and ארומה (a cafe with a popular iced coffee that we enjoy- in english Aroma). We had a little bit of time to shop before getting on the bus to go to the Sea of Galilee. At the beach, we enjoyed the freshwater and views, as well as a convenience store that we were able to go to and buy what we wanted for our rooms. That night, we had dinner, programs, and went to bed, getting ready for Shabbat the next day.
On Friday, we went to the beautiful, artsy city of Tzfat (or Tee Zee Fat according to many of the participants on this trip). We had the chance to go into a couple of synagogues and learn about the differences between our traditions. The main thing we learned was that the origins of L’cha Dodi are from one of the temples, and we got to see the books of rules written about Judaism in their home. We ate some delicious street food and shopped for souvenirs for a few hours before boarding the bus to go back and get ready for Shabbat. As everyone began to come out of their rooms, showered, dressed up, and ready for a fun night, we gathered in the opening to the kibbutz for pictures and instructions. Shabbat services were fun and meaningful, I feel like they really showed the amazing connections of our group. After our basic dinner, dancing, and hangouts, we went to bed for the night.
On Saturday, we had LATE WAKE UP!! Breakfast was optional, and services weren’t until 11am so we got a good night of sleep for the first time in a while. Our morning service taught us very good lessons about our ancestors in the torah and connected it to our life right now. We had a free day for the rest of the day for napping, cleaning, and hanging out. That night, we went for a night out in Tiberius! We explored the beautiful coastal city, bought souvenirs and food/drinks for our rooms, watched world cup games, and ate a TON of delicious food. We came back to the Kibbutz and went to sleep after a fun night.
On Sunday, we packed our bags, put our swimsuits on, and got ready for a fun day with our new Israeli friends! We went to the Sea of Galilee and got to participate in multiple water activities such as banana boats, kayaking, paddle boarding, and just playing in the water. We then met some of the workers who got us into team building activities with no verbal communication. Although they were a bit quirky, they taught us the true meaning of togetherness and the importance of communication. We then had a delicious lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, schnitzel, and passion fruit slushees. Then we boarded the bus and went back to the Kibbutz to shower and get ready for dinner. Finally, our new Israelis planned a fun program for us to not only get to know them better, but to have a fun time as a group.
All in all, last week at Kibbutz Hukuk, our group has strengthened its bonds greatly and picked up some new, amazing friends along the way. I’m so excited to see what this last week of the trip has to offer.