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Pluralistic Perspectives Day 4: Powerful Places and People

By 829 Studios

photoMany of us have used a beauty product derived from the Dead Sea whether we have known the origin of the product. Today, I had the authentic experience by slathering the Dead Sea clay all over my body and floating for over an hour effortlessly in beautiful weather. As I was surrounded by colleagues whom I have had the privilege to travel with over the past couple of days, I achieved not only a personal travel goal, but enjoyed the laughter as a community while we assisted one another while taking pictures. The experience was not only emotionally and physically therapeutic, but a cultural one as well. The languages and laughter of others entering the Dead Sea, which has thirty times more salt than an ocean, encouraged all of us to enjoy the moment (and protect our eyes from any splashing).

IMG_0023We continued to visit two kibbutzim, which Lucas stated “I did not expect to be spending the day kibbutz hopping”. As we drove through the dessert from the Kalya kibbutz, where we had a delicious lunch, camels and sheep were alongside the road. Growing up in New Hampshire, I experienced cows alongside the road, but a herd of camels was remarkable to witness. We arrived at the Sede Elyahu kibbutz, which is the first organic kibbutz in Israel. Lucas’ statement became accurate in noticing the significant differences between these two kibbutzim. As Sede Elyahu is a religious kibbutz, it was a clear difference from the previous kibbutz we arrived from. We learned of their agriculture resourcefulness, and the history of the kibbutz. It is inspiring to learn the many, different structures among the Jewish community. Judaism is not defined by one person, one statement, etc. – it is always evolving, and maintaining the importance of one’s values to the Torah.

As we left the Sede Elyahu kibbutz, I reflected upon the conversation I had with four seventeen year old boys during dinner. They were interested that I was American, but mostly, appreciative of my profession in education. As a teacher, I wanted to learn about their home, religion, choices…and I was reminded by them that I will always be learning and I won’t understand all their answers. I look forward to waking up for “Day 5” given this, with the opportunity to continue to learn, understand, and grow from this experience.

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