by Alexandra P., NFTY-EIE Spring 2014 Student

Masada 2

This morning we woke up bright and early, at 2:30 a.m. to load the buses and travel down south to Masada. After a two-hour bus ride we arrived. It was dark, cold, and intimidating. We got there early in order to climb the mountain and be at the top by sunrise. As I got off the bus all I could see was a giant shadow of a mountain. It was almost like a giant monster that I needed to conquer by sunrise. We took the “snake path” up which is a path that looks like a snakes and ladders game. I tried to stay in the middle of the pack. Let me tell you, it was not an easy hike. My legs were burning as I pushed up with every stair! This was a personal challenge that I wanted to accomplish. I wanted to be able to say that I climbed Masada and made it to the top to see the sun rise. I was going to defeat the giant shadow! As we climbed, the sun started coming out from behind the clouds. Even though my legs were on fire and I needed to stop every few minutes I pushed through the pain. Just as I reached the top, the sun just burst through the clouds and from behind the other mountains. I have never seen anything more beautiful.

Masada 1

After sunrise we did a short morning service. Our opening song was “Here Comes the Sun”. It was a moment I will never forget. After services we had three hours of Jewish history class on top of Masada where we learned about Herod and his crazy house on top of Masada, we also learned about the Sicarii who fought against the Romans and unfortunately chose their own death because they were so passionate in their beliefs.

I am in Israel. Up atop of Massada, taking it all in. Then out of the blue, of all places to see someone from home, I saw Mark Guttman, my CIT unit head this past summer at URJ Camp George! So cool!

After Jewish history class we climbed down Masada again on the snake path. It was a lot easier than going up! Once I got to the bottom I had never felt more proud of myself! I defeated the giant shadow!

Originally posted on Alexandra’s blog, Oh The Places Alexandra Will Go

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