Whew! Long journey here. The flights were great. We left Rochester on time, got to JFK on time and had several hours layover. Our flights on Turkish Air were wonderful - great food, very comfortable. The excitement started once we arrived in Tel Aviv. There are 13 of us on the trip and 12 of us got through passport control with no problem. One member of the group, a young Muslim man, aged 22, was taken out of the line and held for questioning for two hours. We all stood outside waiting for him, worried about what was going on in there. When they finally came out with him they then took him off to another room to go through his luggage, which took another half hour. Honestly, the profiling going on here in the name of security is ridiculous.
We drove up to the Galilee where we are staying on a kibbutz - Kibbutz Mizra. Since we were so late arriving, we had to find our rooms (basic but fine) and then make our way to the dining hall for dinner. After dinner, the rabbi who lives here, a "secular humanist Jewish Rabbi" by his own description, celebrated a welcoming the Sabbath service with us. It was quite beautiful - we sang songs in Hebrew, reflected on some Biblical passages, talked about the meaning of Sabbath, and the symbols of the Sabbath celebration - the bread and wine - from all three Abrahamic tradition perspectives. We had a sort of "trialogue" sermon/reflection on the Sabbath readings and concluded with a beautiful poem written by the rabbi and read in Hebrew, Arabic and English. This rabbi is a peace worker here in Israel and expressed hope for a resolution to the conflict here and reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians. It was a lovely evening, except that we were all so exhausted we could barely keep our eyes open.
Tomorrow is an early day, and since I am barely functional at this point, I will sign off for tonight. Hopefully, tomorrow, with a decent night's sleep under my belt, I'll be able to take some pictures to post here too! We are in a beautiful location, with Nazareth off in the distance.