407-645-5933 ext. 236 marisa.west@shalomorlando.org

Once again, I am back in Israel.  This is my 20th trip and I am excited not just to be in Israel but also on the Momentum Men’s trip with 10 amazing men from Orlando and my two other City Leaders.  After our long flight from Miami to Tel Aviv, we jumped in cabs to spend the morning in Tel Aviv.  We relaxed while looking at the Mediterranean Sea and then began walking the beach and exploring the city.  We walked for nearly 2 hours, along the beach, over to the Carmel Market, and then wandering through neighborhoods until we returned to our meeting point and headed back to the airport to meet our Momentum group.

The Men’s Momentum Trip cohort.

We headed north to Tiberius and the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee).  The Kinneret is beautiful and after checking into the hotel, I sat on the patio looking out at the water, the mountains, and the skyline. 

As the sun began to set and the colors filled my eyes, I was filled with a sense of peace and joy. 

We left the hotel and went to hear our Trip Leader, Ari Shabat, set the tone for the trip.  Ari is a friend and a truly inspirational person.  Over the past year, I have learned a great deal from him and am excited to have him leading the trip again this year.  He inspired us to begin this journey together, and we then all headed up to the Golan Heights to a military base.  If you’ve never been to the Golan Heights, the strategic value is huge.  We got there after dark and spent time with a commander in the reserves of the tank unit.  He taught us about the tanks from the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the tanks of today.  We got to climb and explore both tanks and even got an exhibition of the new tanks and how they work.  It was truly incredible.  It was also freezing as the sun was down and we were high in the mountains.  Some of the soldiers from the tank unit showed us what they do and we had the chance to say Thank You to them.

In the Golan Heights.

After learning about the tank unit, we headed back to Tiberius to Decks restaurant (one of my favorites) right on the Kinneret.  They brought us way too much food and we ate, talked, laughed and had fun.  It’s about to start rainy season in Israel and during dinner it began to rain.  We sat outside, got a little wet, and continued to have fun.

After two days with almost no sleep (the travel day to get here and then today as our first day), I’m excited to get some rest and begin fresh tomorrow.  We head to Tzfat, one of my favorite cities, in the morning and finish the day in Jerusalem.  I can’t wait to be filled with the mysticism of Tzfat and the specialness of Jerusalem.