On Sunday, the Ashdodian and Ramlan teaching fellow crews joined forces for a day trip to Maresha and Sderot. Maresha was an underground city in the southern part of Israel, and has been excavated and somewhat reconstructed for our learning and viewing pleasure.
The caves were all much cooler than the hot desert above, and our guide told us that they stay this comfortable temperature all-year-round. Pretty sweet deal.
It wasn’t a TON of walking, but still a fair amount of hilly terrain and walking up and down stairs. Everyone was unusually weak from the previous day’s fast though, so we all got to look like out-of-shape foreigners.
Also, here are some mythical creatures that were painted inside a tomb:
In the afternoon, we traveled further south to Gaza.
Just kidding, we went to Sderot, which is a town less than a mile away from the Gaza Strip. I had visited here on Birthright two years ago, but it was good to receive information again about the on-going conflict. In Sderot, we saw (again, for me) some of the many rockets that had been fired into the town. Our last stop was a viewing point where we could see into the Gaza Strip.
The trip was an important reminder that things were not always as beautiful and peaceful as they seem now. Just one week before we all had arrived, daily life for many Israelis, especially in the South, was greatly disrupted and threatened.
Today, a 6th grade boy told me after our lesson, “This is fun!” It made me so grateful to be living and teaching as I am now, in a time of peace. Still thinking of our trip to Sderot, I feel even more desire to understand more about how the people I meet here have been affected, especially the children who I interact with every day.