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This is one in a series of entries about my recent trip to Israel. I was there from July 17-29, 2012; these entries are being posted a few weeks after the experience. Everything is transfered directly from my notebook and is only edited for grammar and spelling. All words that appear on the blog were written on the trip. More Israel entries are available here.

18 July 2012 — El Al Flight 002; Tel Aviv

Plane left JFK late at 7:30 p.m. (scheduled for 7 p.m.), but arrived on time to Tel Aviv around noon. 10 hour flight. Made a great buddy (Sam) (girl) who I talked with for a while. Slept for around 4.5 hours on plane and had enough energy to write this entry at 11 p.m. in Tal Hotel in Tel Aviv.

Went to “Old World Park” after landing, which models what ancient life was like for Israelis—or, I should say, what Biblical conditions were. 

Naturally, we had to herd goats as a group (now dubbed Southwest Swag, BTW, because facilitation groups are regional) to a certain spot on the premises. Lessons were gleaned later on in discussion about how this might reflect our leadership styles. Whole day (and first part of trip) is about leadership.

Went to dinner afterward at a restaurant designed as “social enterprise,” where it tries to make a profit but with using dropouts as its labor. It trains and helps with hiring dropouts and has graduated some 200 people from the program. Lead investor believes it’s transferrable to other cultures and types of shop.

On bus, came to realization that, even though I’m not fond at all of religion, I still identify as “half-Jewish.” I don’t ever identity as “half-Christian,” so this must be a function of pride in or appreciation of Jewish background—even if it’s only subconscious or without much thought. Identifying as Jewish when religion is something I detest is an interesting thing.

At Biblical park, an unavoidable noise was an Israeli military base right near us. It was a base on the border of Israel and the Palestinian West Bank. The West Bank was right there. Apparently we could see it, but our Biblical camp guide didn’t mention it. Hmmm…

Some Israelis were killed today on their tourist bus in Bulgaria. We will see how this plays out later on the trip in any way.

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