Dear Friends and Family,
For years and years – for celebrations and in memory of all loved ones – all of us have had trees planted in the JNF forests in Israel. Today, we had the opportunity to see some of the millions of trees that have been planted – what a view. We drove to an area called Sataf, which is one of the Jewish National Fund’s forests. This 250 acre site is the site where ancient agriculture is practiced as it was thousands of years ago and CAARI was going to do some of that work. We met with the forester who gave us an overview of the beautifully terraced site, most of which are planted with olive trees. We put on our work gloves, grabbed a hoe, cutters and off to work we went. We trimmed the olive trees, preparing them for a better harvest. Some of us worked on repairing the stone terraces. What hard work – first we had to take down the old stones, separate them and then rebuild. It took some time, but with the guidance of our JNF forester, Jamil, we did it. Check out the pictures – we are really proud of what we accomplished.
Picnicking at the JNF’s American Independence Park (AIP) under the sunny warm skies was a delight. We walked around the site, viewing the dedicatory walls and stopping by the special Bat – Bar Mitzvah Wall where Bar/Bat Mitzvah children can link their names with children who perished in the Holocaust. This was particularly memorable as one of our former CAARI participant’s brother, who perished in Hungary, was twinned with a teenager from Pittsburgh. Our journey continued to the amazing Sorek Caves. Yes, we climbed up and down the 100+ steps to see the artful display of limestone formations known as stalagmites and stalactites, some of which are three hundred thousand years old. On to Tel Aviv, where we will be staying for the next four weeks.
Our best to all of you!