The Craziest Thing I Did In Israel (on Birthright)

On our second day in Israel we hopped on the bus at the unseemly hour of 8am and drove up to Mount Arbel in the Lower Galilee near the city of Tiberius. We were told, sort of (because information about what we were actually going to be doing on any given day was always less specific than we would’ve preferred), that we’d be going on a hike, but not a really a hike, and don’t worry, it was okay if you were not a hiker because it wouldn’t be hard.

Cool, I thought. I guess I’ll wear sneakers?

And I’m glad I did.

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Before I realized what we were doing. 

The bus drove us almost to the top of the mount. We walked a few thousand feet to the top and I thought, “That was cool!” and admired the view and was ready to get back on the bus.

But nope. NO. No. No. We were not done yet. Elchi, our trip guide, led us down to a viewing area at the edge of the cliff and told us we’d be going down this way.

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HAHA, we all thought. Not seeing anything to help us down the cliff that was hundreds of feet high besides a smattering of little metal bars to hold on to and step down. But Elchi was serious and so down we went.

It got steeper, and more dangerous, and my heart raced more and more the further we went down because I was super sure that my AllBirds sneakers would definitely slip off one of the metal bars.

Luckily, my friend Ashley was in front of me and she also happens to be a rock climbing instructor so she helped me get down. Needless to say, most of my fellow Jews were much cooler about coming down than the mountain than I was.

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My friend Mari and I after the death climb. My face says, “I’M STILL ALIVE!”

I was proud of myself for making it down after, but not too proud because I had no fucking idea what I was doing and if it hadn’t been for my friends I would’ve peace’d out or frozen completely. Or fallen to my death.

Our medic? She came down easily with one hand on the handles and one hand holding a cigarette. She was totally Lara Croft.

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Needless to say: This would not be allowed in America, at least not without a form being signed saying that they weren’t responsible for anything that happens up to and including your death.

It was the craziest thing I did in Israel because it was the only time where I could’ve died but I’m glad I did it. This trip was about going outside my comfort zone and I’m proud I did. Because that’s what traveling is all about, right?

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