Top 5 places to visit in Israel

January 30, 2023
Noa Litcofsky

Merion Station, Pennsylvania, United States

Class of 2025

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1. Western Wall

Also known as the Kotel, the Western Wall is the most religious site in the world for the Jewish people. The wall is located in the Old City of Jerusalem and it is the last remaining outer wall of the ancient Jewish temple. There is a split gate that divides male from female. However, the female side is much smaller than the male side. When I went to visit the Wall I could not believe the amount of space the men had vs the crowded space that was on the woman's side. To be allowed into the western wall you must dress modestly. Women should have their legs and shoulders covered (scarves are provided at the site). I had to wear leggings with a long sleeve shirt to cover my shoulders. Men were expected to cover their head. Other than to pray, people go to the Kotel to put a customized note to God in between the cracks of the wall. Walking up to the Wall itself and touching the stone was an amazing experience I will never forget.

2. Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem is Israel's memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. The tour of the museum can take up to two and a half hours. For me it was the saddest two hours of my life. The museum is dedicated to the six million jews who were brutally murdered. The museum consists of exhibits surrounding concentration camps, background of the Nazis and Hitler, artifacts, and stories. There are beautiful trees are planted all throughout the outside of the museum. The trees are a symbol of the renewal of life, in honor of the non-Jews who acted to save the lives of Jews. A tree is also planted in the honor of Oskar Schindler, who was a German industrialist and a member of the Nazi Party who saved the lives of twelve hundred Jews during the Holocaust. The museum was not easy to walk through, but it is still extremely important to learn about the Holocaust and remember the stories of all those who were murdered.

3. Dead sea

The dead sea is located on the border between Israel and Jordan. The Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water on Earth, with almost 10 times more salt than ordinary seawater which causes any human body to completely float. Walking into the sea, you are walking on actual salt crystals. The moment the water was above my knees I instantly started floating. In this body of water there is not one living thing because nothing can survive the saltiness. People often use the mud in the Dead Sea as a soothing mask around their body.

4. Masada

Masada is an ancient fortress in southern Israel’s Judean Desert. You can get to the top in a cable cart or you can hike a path up to the site. I took a cable cart but a lot of people hike the trails in big tourist groups before sunrise to beat the brutal sun. When I reached the top, I immediately saw the view overlooking the Dead Sea and most of the Judean desert. When the ancient Romans overtook Judea in the first century A.D., the grounds of Masada became a fortress for the Jewish people.  On Masada I saw the ruins of King Herod's Palace, a Roman-style bathhouse with mosaic floors and much more. In addition, the Masada Museum has archaeological exhibits and recreations of historical scenes.

5. The Shuk

The Machane Yehuda Market or Shuk is the largest market in Jerusalem with over 250 vendors selling everything from fruit and vegetables to specialty foods. The Market is set between Aggripas and Jaffa Street. The market is open Sunday to Friday and closed on Shabbat. It's always crowded and smelled amazing. There is food, spices, and merchandise everywhere you looked.

Noa Litcofsky is a BBG living in Merion Station Pennsylvania, and she plays field hockey.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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