Day 4 in Israel and we were finally able to sleep in. And by sleep in, I mean 7 a.m. Because it is winter, the sun goes down sooner, so we start earlier! We left the kibbutz for Tiberias to pick up the Israelis at 9 a.m. When we picked them up, I had the pleasure of sitting next to an Israeli on the bus ride. I am so excited to get to know the Israelis and get their perspective on Israel and Judaism. Although we have many evident differences, we are so similar. You can see it when we talk about songs we both like and movies we have seen. So we headed to Safed, one of the 4 holy cities. The most prominent and eye-catching part of Safed was the beautiful blue that was painted all over the city. The connection to the blue is that it represents the sky. In the synagogues, the Rabbi speaks from an elevated stage, making you look up and therefore encouraging you to have a higher way thinking. So when you are looking toward the sky, you are thinking at a new higher level, which scratches the surface of Kabbalah. Also, it is said that blue keeps the evil eye away because it gets confused when it sees the blue because it thinks it is in the sky so it turns around and leaves. We visited 2 beautiful synagogues and shopped along the markets that consisted mainly of jewelry and artwork. We then visited the workshop of an American-born glassblower. She had some very interesting views on Kabbalah and the workings of the universe. Her views kind of promoted a certain harmony between yourself and the universe. The glassblowing woman was from Denver who came to Israel on a trip similar to a Taglit-Birthright Israel: Hillel trip when she was a young adult. I found it inspiring to see an American who was born Jewish and who originally had no intention of ever coming to Israel, had come to the holy land, became inspired by it, and is now living here and doing something shenever dreamed of doing before her experience. Honestly, it makes me wonder if something like that will happen to me…who knows!
Sarah Steurer, Ithaca College