I got the dive in today* and saw some wonderful underwater life. The visibility in the Red Sea is beyond amazing – around 100 feet. Compare that to 25 to 30 feet in the DR. I played hide and seek with an surprinsingly engaged octopus and swam with masses of impressive fish, large and small. I already told Amy that she has to dive the Red Sea.
Our morning started with a spectacular ealy hike in the desert mountains outside of Eilat, a humbling experience made even more awesome by the realization that it’s just a taste of what we’ll be seeing and hiking in the coming months. We ended the day in the desert (surprise!), hiking to and over monsterous structures in the middle of nowhere. The silence of the desert is a great experience that everyone should have.
[Note: Jewish stuff coming.] We had an incredible Tisha B’av program tonight. I didn’t really have anything planned and didn’t like the sample program our trip provider gave us, so I substituted a suggested Shabbat program about God, which has the teens interview each other about their beliefs. I quieted the group down and told them that I wanted to have a discussion about religion and the significance of the day – without focusing on anything too depressing, but before I even finished explaining the program one teen asked if it could just be a discussion led by them. A bit skeptical, I agreed. It took a few minutes for them to hash out the ground rules for the discussion, but they just finished two hours of honest talk about God, prayer, free will, Judaism, community, and how the trip changed their view of Judaism. (There were some great answers about Jewish pride. At least two teens spoke of secretly loving their Jewishness but having to hide their pride from friends, and about their looking forward to going home proud and ‘out’.) I’m impressed.