Flourishing in the Desert and Feeling Blessed

God turns the desert into pools of water, 

the parched land into springs of water,

and there God lets the hungry live.

They establish a town to live in,

They sow fields, plant a vineyard and get a fruitful field.

                                        -Psalm 107: 35-37


In a bustling city of Tel Aviv full of bauhaus architecture, sky scrapers, kiosks and shops, is it true it was once only sand? My delight is seeing Israel through the eyes of 25 Beth Chaim Travelers, most of whom are first time visitors. From the moment we lifted our glasses in delight/disbelief here in Eretz Yisrael, to the tastes, sounds, smells, and deep learning that is found here, we have embraced the experience.  Climbing the hills of Jaffa, peering through its archways, we are time traveling.  We have visited the Roman columns and Crusader inspired flying butresses of Cesaria, and traced the history of Tel Aviv from the days of David Ben Gurion to the tragic moment of Yitzchak Rabin’s assasination.  Inspired by the ingenuity of the Haganah’s underground bullet factory, we were also challenged by the Ein Shemer agricultural school where Arab and Israel students study side by side. Today we even ran into the Mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai, and shmoozed with him about our impressions of the city on the streets of Neve Tzedek. Only in Israel! This desert has been transformed into pools of water, challenging our imaginations, emotions, and intellect to open anew.  Though still a bit jet lagged, we are flourishing, and feeling blessed.