SBP in Israel Day 4: Dark History, the Desert, the Dead Sea

Dr. Glenn Cassidy

Daron, Danielle, and Juan in the desert.

After spending the night at a youth hostel in Jerusalem, we began our day by visiting Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. While there are many Holocaust museums around the world, this one seems to have particular importance. Of course, there is probably no better understanding of the need for the State of Israel than the Holocaust. The intensity of the experience was only matched by the seriousness with which the students took in the information. Afterwards, some commented that they remembered several parts of this from taking one of Mr. Gallerani’s courses on the Holocaust. Others stated that despite attending other Holocaust museums, they still learned quite a bit here. Despite the serious and graphic nature of the museum, it was definitely a worthwhile experience for all of us.


From here we changed moods quickly by heading to the Dead Sea. At 400 meters below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth. Along the highway, we had the opportunity to stop by the sign denoting the sea level. There we were surprised to find a man with a roadside stand who had gotten there by camel. We were rather excited to take pictures with the camel. We were also able to fulfill Aaron’s desire to see the desert. We continued on through the desert, towards the Sea, and saw many sheep and, what we presumed were shepherds.

The Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth.

Arriving at the Dead Sea, we first had lunch. Following lunch, we took the opportunity to swim. The Dead Sea is known for its extremely high salt content – so much so that small cuts burn tremendously while exposed to the water. There are warnings to avoid allowing water near your eyes or mouth. The waters of the Dead Sea are also said to be very good for the skin and for other ailments in the body. Furthermore, the mud of the Dead Sea is supposed to be even more powerful for skin health. During our time in the sea, we coated ourselves in the mud. This left our skin feeling silky smooth, although a few guys claimed they felt dried out afterwards. It was amazing to see the number of people – primarily older (many senior citizens) taking the chance of risking the slippery bottoms of the water just to try out the waters. This was a great way to wrap up what began as a heavy morning.

Mudmen after a mud bath in the Dead Sea.