Masada, Qumran, the Jordan and Dead Sea

We began the day with a trek to Masada, the rebel fortress located on the Judean Desert. It is a significant story of the Jewish people, and their fight for freedom. Originally a palace for Herod the Great, it became the last stronghold of Jewish freedom fighters in the First Jewish War c. 68 c.e. while there we saw Israeli soldiers on a training excursion. We learned that at one time soldiers of Israel (our guide fought in the 1967 War) were taken to Masada to make a vow: "Never again."

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Next stop, Qumran, the discrete Jewish community responsible for producing the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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We then travelled to the spot on the Jordan River believed to be the crossing point for the Israelites, led by Joshua, as well as the place where Jesus could have been baptized.

After lunch we made our way to the spot on The Dead Sea where we could float. One cannot swim very well, but floating...we "mudded" up and floated around. It was quite an experience for us all. The Sea has an extremely high salt and mineral count so we all felt very "smooth" and refreshed afterward. By the way, we were all sworn to not take any pictures while at the Dead Sea as the women were shy.

On the way back to the hotel we got our instructions about checking out tomorrow. We'll leave Tel Aviv around 1:00 a.m. Tomorrow night and be back in San Diego around noon the same day!

A Shalom, Salaam, Peace