This letter was sent to the Camp Kalsman community by Sarah R., Abby M., and Isabel M-S – three Kalsman campers exploring Israel together!
We hope you are all having an amazing time at camp and are making friendships that will last you a lifetime. We are writing to you from the Land of Milk and Honey, aka Israel.
Last week, after 24 long hours of travel, we landed in Tel Aviv. When the wheels of the plane hit the ground, people began to cheer and we realized at that moment that our journey in a whole new part of the world had begun. The first couple of days here were filled with meeting new people and our counselors, getting to know one another, and exploring the streets of Tel Aviv with our new friends. We also took a trip to Jaffa, where we got to experience coexistence firsthand. While we were there we sat in a spot where we could see a temple, church, and mosque all at once.
Two days after our arrival, we loaded the buses and headed South to the Negev desert. Our first night in the desert was Shabbat. In order to reach the place where we would have services, we had to hke up a mountain. At the top, there was an amazing view of the desert and mountains of Israel. We could even see Egypt and Jordan! The services were beautiful, for 120 people from all over America were bonding through prayer at the top of a mountain. The most fascinating part was when we rose to pray, we turned to the north towards Jerusalem instead of turning to the east like we do at home.
The next three days consisted of hiking through the Negev desert in 110 degree weather and sleeping on the ground under the beautiful stars. As bad as that may sound, we lwearned to embrace the dirt and difficult challenges, and ended up with a newfound love for the desert and nature in general. The hikes weren’t easy, but they brought us closer together as a group becuase we had to help each other out and conqure our fears together. Yesterday, we woke up at 4:00 am and by 8:00 am we were eating breakfast 2,000 feet above sea level, on top of Mount Shelomo, overlooking Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. The whole desert experience was one we will remember for the rest of our lives, and we can’t wait to see what other adventures this trip has in store for us.
We are having the time of our lives on this trip and have made so many amazing friendships and memories. We hope that when you are in high school, you will be able to experience the same adventures that we are so thankful to be going through.
Have an amazing rest of your summer at camp and we will see you soon!
B’ahava (with love),
SR, AM, & IMS