December 5, 2012
Farewell Dead Sea, but not before hearing more about all that the area has to offer. Our first stop was at Ein Gedi, with all of its historical significance but also its wonder as a nature reserve. We did the hike (not as strenuous as Masada!) along the stream to “David’s Waterfall” at the end of the trail. The water that flows out of the mountain has never touched humans and is therefore good to drink (which many of us did). We saw many of the little mountain rabbits (hydrax) along our way, and they kindly posed for us along with a few ibex that were roaming the hill side.
From Ein Gedi it was a short ride to Qumran, location of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We saw an introductory movie followed by a tour of the excavation that showed a complete community living in the area.
Following lunch it was time to head to Jerusalem. Our first stop was on Mt. Scopus from where we could see the entire Old City. We got an introduction to the lay of the land which we will see from much closer up in the next two days. We also got to experience a bit of rain, which cleared up in the next two hours.
We then continued to the “City of David,” which is an amazing site thought to be the palace of King David, complete with tunnels and continuing excavations.
Then it was time to head to our hotel. We dropped our luggage and then headed out in all directions for the evening. Miriam and Rabbi Milhander headed to Ben Yehuda Street, a promenade with all kinds of shops and restaurants. Dinner was at “Big Apple Pizza” – a NY style pizzeria (I guess Rabbi Milhander has had enough shwarma and falafel for awhile!). Being the good Weight Watcher, Miriam had the Greek salad! Shopping followed, and then it was time to call it a night. Tomorrow – the New City of Jerusalem with Yad Vashem, Knesset, Israel Museum, and so much more!