Visiting Masada, Sdei Chemed Style!

Home / Boys / Visiting Masada, Sdei Chemed Style!

By: Ronnie Sugerman

Last night or rather this morning we left our campus at 1:45 AM and headed straight for Masada. With our camel-backs strapped on we prepared for the climb. We marched our way up the mountain using blazing torches as our only source of light. We climbed the ancient Roman ramp and so a quick 20 minutes later, we found ourselves on a beautiful mountaintop with a breathtaking view.As we started davening vasikin the sun was barely visible, there was just a thin pink line in the sky, but by the time we reached Shimoneh Esrei, the sun had completely risen and was in full view. Davening this way, was not only magnificent on the eyes, but was also a very inspirational backdrop.
After davening, we ate our pre-made breakfast along with an ice cold shoko, while we listened to a brief historical background on the story of Masada, given by none other than Rabbi Druyan, who helped us better understand the epic tale as a whole. We then finished off our stay on the mountain with our awesome camp flashmob dance; officially stamping the mountain with our authentic Sdei Chemed flare.
At this point one can began to feel the heat of the sun and so we had the option of either going down the snake path to the air-conditioned activity center (the cable cars were not running yet), or stay and get an exclusive tour while the weather was still bearable. Being that I had never seen Masada’s landmarks before I decided to stay.
The tour was truly amazing. Not only was it educational, but also a lot of fun. We saw the architecture of the palaces built on Masada, the shuls the Jews used to daven at when they lived there, and the cistern system used in order that Masada’s inhabitants have a water supply. By now the temperature was steadily rising, so we took the snake path down for a grueling 25 minute workout. At the visiting center we were treated to a movie about Masada. The movie was nice but the AC was the best part. Wiped from an already awesome start to the day, the entire camp loaded on the bus and headed for The Dead Sea.
We arrived at the Yam Hamelech, which today has a beautiful separate beach, just 20 minutes later. Still exhausted from the early wake up and the Masada trip itself, we lazily sulked off the bus towards the glistening sea. The Dead Sea’s appearance is a bit deceiving: shiny and beautiful from the outside, yet full of burning salt water on the inside. As I placed my feet in the water to enter, a cut on my foot immediately began to sting. After the initial shock, however, the pain weakened and I journeyed deeper into the sea and joined the others. For once this summer we didn’t need to wear our life-jackets!
We all just relaxed as we let our bodies simply stay afloat in the water. After a long tiring trip, this was a great way to chill and detox. The one down side, being in the water for a while makes your entire body tingle and sting. Because of this, after 10-20 minutes we all exited the sea and hit the showers. A major plus side, the sea’s minerals helped heal many of my camp-mates  ailments. Feeling newly rejuvenated, a more energetic (and healthy) camp made their way to the bus.
Our last stop was at an off the road chill hike called ein bokek. We stomped through knee-high water as we made our way to an area with two waterfalls and a pond. We relaxed in the water and just enjoyed ourselves. But the calm didn’t last for long. We quickly transformed the slippery waterfalls into slides, which we used to launch ourselves into the water. At the pond, the rest of the camp was using the rocks and pebbles found at the bottom of the water to build a damn. Through incredible team work we successfully raised the water level a few good feet. After a an hour of this, we eventually trekked back down the hiking path to the awaiting bus (not before knocking down the damn, of course).
Instead of returning to our base back near Yerushalaim we drove to a hotel in yeruchim, a religious city located in the negev. We immediately went to our rooms and took nice long naps. Finally relieved from our exhaustion, we got up a few hours later do daven micha, some learning and an awesome camp barbecue, where we ate delicious burgers and tasty wings. The hotel had beautiful lawns and a full size basketball court for us to chill.
Our last activity of the night was at an indoor pool a short walk away from our hotel. We had the entire pool to ourselves. Because the pool was so large and deep, we were able to jump and dive into the pool (some of us even jumped into the pool over chairs). There were also intense chicken fights. Overall, we just had a ton of fun swimming and spending time together. The pool was the perfect end to an action-packed day, that was not only exciting but relaxing as well. Tomorrow we will visit the Israeli Air-force museum and Chavat Na’ama, where a guy named Buki will give us a tour of his farm. Can’t wait!
Related Posts