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ASCENT Israel Mission - Day #3: Ein Gedi & the Dead Sea

The day began with an amazing presentation by Rabbi Ken Spiro. The talk, entitled World Perfect, reflected on the six values that would make the world perfect. Rabbi Spiro then highlighted all the major civilizations that have contributed to the development of our society and demonstrated how each historic civilization at the same time contributed to the decline of the very values that would compose a perfect world. This was contrasted with the principles that Judaism has contributed and continues to contribute to our society. The talk was enlightening and empowering.

We headed to Ein Gedi, an oasis in Israel, which is known for its caves, springs, and its rich diversity of flora and fauna. Ein Gedi is mentioned several times in biblical writings. Though we were very hot, hiking in the sun, the beautiful waterfalls were well worth the trek, as we jumped in for a swim to cool off in the refreshing waters.

The Dead Sea, our next stop, was a real treat. We thoroughly enjoyed the spa- like aspects of the experience and had a great time. Slathered in mineral-filled mud, we waded and floated in this wondrous sea. When you meet us in Houston, you’ll have difficulty recognizing us- we all look ten years younger as a result of our visit.

Camel rides, donkey rides, and tents enabled us to revisit our history and live like our matriarchs lived. We spent the night in a Kfar Nokdim, a Bedouin style ‘hotel’, enjoyed a scrumptious barbecue, delighted in the wonderful talks by Pamela Claman and Lori Palatnik, and slept under the star-filled sky. The experience really encouraged us to reflect and connect with our roots, each other, and nature. (Though for the non-campers among us, it also prevented us from getting a good night’s sleep :))

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