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University of Utah Singers Israel Tour: Ancient places and Ein Gedi

Yesterday was quite a full, hot, hot, hot day. We started off fairly early on a bus ride to the West Bank where we drove through the Judean wilderness (and it is quite a wilderness) before stopping in Jericho. Here, we found the Spring of Elisha:

After drinking upstream from some goats and native children playing in the water, we hopped back on the bus and made our way to Qumran.

This is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. I can’t imagine finding them after wandering through a desert like that one. It’s ridiculously hot. Here is a photo illustration of what I mean:

Next, we traveled to Masada where some 950 Jewish zealots were besieged by Romans for three years. The Romans wanted to take the Jewish people as slaves, but the Jewish people would have none of it. As the Romans breached their fortress, all of the residents of Masada killed themselves rather than become slaves.

When we finished at Masada, we headed to the Dead Sea. Many choir members had a great time being unable to sink!

Finally, we arrived at the Ein Gedi kibbutz, where the wonderful people who live and work there fed us a fantastic meal and showed us to the concert hall for our sound check.

Our last concert was lighthearted and fun, despite all of us feeling a little sad that the whole thing has come to an end. It’s been a fantastic ride!

We’ll do a little more touring of the country today and tomorrow, and then we’re home on Sunday. The entire choir would like to express are most sincere gratitude to everyone who has helped us and supported us through the trip, including President Young, our families, all of our audiences, and most especially Olivia Dakkak and Maya Shavit. We couldn’t have done it without you!