The gang gather outside the Crown Plaza

Photos: Maxine Truman

ESRA in Eilat was recently relaunched and we are proud to report that our membership has more than doubled and we have ventured out of our hothouse into the center of the country!

Eight brave ESRA adventurers took to the road in early morning on our “Birth of Israel Tour” stopping first at the very appropriate David Ben-Gurion's desert home at Kibbutz Sde Boker. 

As we live our lives in the desert and we experience daily his dream of making the desert bloom, it seemed only right that we started the day by visiting his grave and his home in the desert. The views were spectacular and we were accompanied up the pathways by wild ibex.

Carolyne Davis at the Montefiore Heritage Jerusalem

His modest home in which he had welcomed world leaders is now open to the public as a tribute to the man who dreamt of a flourishing, fair and just society for Jews from all around the world, built in the arid Negev desert.

We enjoyed lunch at Kibbutz Sde Boker before continuing our journey to Jerusalem.  We wandered through the Jaffa Gate and met up at the Western Wall as we waited for dark to fall so we could explore the Old City during the Festival of Lights. The walls of the City were aglow with lights and displays, thronging with people who watched the thousands of years of history and struggle which the city has endured beamed onto the outer walls.

The next morning we experienced the life story of another great leader of Israel at the Begin Heritage Center.  Begin’s aspirations for Israel were expressed quite differently from Ben-Gurion’s and we saw how both these great leaders nearly came to civil war which could have prevented the birth of modern-day Israel. They demonstrated how important it is for those of opposing political opinions to pull together for the sake of the people and the preservation of the nation.  

Both men have gone down in history as great defenders of the Jewish nation, each in his own style. 

Half our group headed back via the Dead Sea and the other half braved the unseasonable scorching weather to shop at Machane Yehuda market and visited Ein Kerem with its golden church and alleyways draped in bougainvillea. 

We are looking forward to attracting more ESRA members in the autumn and to starting our volunteer program. As Eilat is essentially a non-English speaking community, our connection to other English speakers around Israel is very important. We hope in the future as our membership grows to be able to meet up with other ESRA groups. 

Shana Tova to all our new friends in the center.

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