Dear Camp Kalsman,
Over the years I have listened to letters/emails past campers have written back to camp while on their NFTY in Israel summer adventures. I always really enjoyed listening to them, so I wanted to do the same in hopes it would be interesting for at least a few people.
We are only six days into a month long trip, but I’m already having an amazing time. I was very nervous getting on the plane to go to New York, and then later, Tel Aviv. I was going into the trip only knowing one person so I was worried I wouldn’t make friends or just have a bad experience in general. I was very wrong about that. I instantly made friends with people from all over the country but specifically the San Francisco area and the rest of California. Having a really nice group of friends so early into the trip is making the entire thing so much more enjoyable.
The things we have done already have been so much fun and I know there is a ton more we are going to do. On the first full day we went to an archeological dig site and got to go into the caves. Along with the fact the caves had natural air conditioning (which felt great in the hot sun), they were also really interesting because they were from 2,000 years ago during the time of the Hanukkah story and Judah Maccabee. Expecting to not find anything for hours, we found a bunch of clay pottery pieces right off the bat when digging.
The next day we were off to the Negev desert! We spent four days and three nights in the desert going on different hikes and camping. The hikes and views were incredible. It was a different kind of pretty than I’m used to, considering I live in the Pacific Northwest where everything is green, but it was still amazing. Camping was also fun because we didn’t use tents, we got to literally sleep under the stars and it was really pretty. On day 2 of the desert we drove to Eilat and went swimming in the Red Sea. We also got to go snorkeling, which was really cool because I had never been before. The water was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. It was three shades of blue that got darker as it went out and it was beautiful.
Yesterday morning we climbed Mount Shelomo and Mount Yoram. I say climb and not hike because it was more rock climbing then hiking. It was a little bit terrifying being on cliff sides and huge rocky hills very high up with no harness or protective gear, but we felt extremely accomplished when we reached the summit. Later that day we got to climb up a huge hill of sand in the desert at our last campsite and roll down. It was super dirty but super fun.
My summer adventures are going extremely well so far and I’m only a few days into the trip! As I finish writing and sending this I am sitting by the pool at Kibbutz Yahel about to drive to Jerusalem! Sorry this is so long but thanks for reading it if you actually make it through the whole thing. Hope everything is going well at camp! Happy Fourth of July!
P.S. Israeli music sounds way better actually in Israel.