Judaean Desert, Israel

After spending a few days in Jerusalem, we went to the Judaean Desert to hike Masada and float in the Dead Sea!

January 10, 2023

We woke up early and drove to Masada National Park. To get to Masada, we crossed security checkpoints from Jerusalem into the West Bank.

Masada is an ancient fortification in the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. On our drive, Lior explained how the Judaean desert is home to the Bedouins, a small community of Arabic nomads who account for ~3% of Israel’s total population.

After a 40 minute climb, we reached the top and took some pictures of the beautiful views!

While at the top of Masada, Lior explained how Masada is renowned for the palaces and fortifications of Herod the Great, built in 30 B.C. Among the ruins at the top of Masada are King Herod’s Palace, which sprawls over 3 rock terraces, and a Roman-style bathhouse with mosaic floors. 

After exploring the ruins (and strangely running into a Tufts University Birthright Trip!), we took the gondola down and continued on our way to the Dead Sea, a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the East and Israel and the West Bank to the West. The Dead Sea is considered to be the lowest point on Earth and it contains almost 10x more salt than ordinary seawater!

Despite the weather being a bit chilly, we still got into our bathing suits and effortlessly floated in the Dead Sea!

After taking a shower to wash off the salt, we got some lotion from the one and only Ahava and then got back on the bus to head North to our Kibbutz in Ginosaur.

After dinner at the Kibbutz, we had a Q&A session with Rabbi Green. Other than it being very informal and authentic, we choose to not share any other details from the session on this blog post.

After the Q&A session, we had an impromptu bachelor/bachelorette party for Andrew and Gabby, since they will get married by Rabbi Green later in the trip in Tsfat!

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