When we were planning our Pesach travels, we knew that our trip would be around Deborah’s due date, so we wanted to go somewhere where we could get to Jerusalem easily if necessary. Excellent planning because we woke up the next morning and went to Jerusalem for a bris! Warning: indulgent amount of family photos ahead…

Introducing Shlomo Yehuda Labe! Baruch Haba!

Cousins!

Doesn't Deborah look great?

Big sister!

Noah was so excited to hold the new baby.

Yitzchak whispered to the baby, "Don't cry, baby. Let me see how you cry, baby. Don't cry, baby."

When the Worenkleins headed back to their Pesach resort, we returned to Ein Gedi. This time we wanted to hike the less-traveled canyon, Nachal Arugot. Apparently it is not as well-known as Nachal David, which was actually preferable for us because it was less crowded and less “trampled.” Turned out to be one of the best hikes we’d been on this year!

The stream of Nachal Arugot comes down from the Hebron Mts. in the Judean Hills

The trail runs through the canyons

and at times narrows so that we were hiking just at the edge of a gorge the stream cut at the bottom of the canyon.

Parts of the trail run through the stream itself - sometimes we were hiking in knee-deep water, which felt great.

"Arugot" means "garden beds" because of the plant life supported by the stream. Here the trail cuts through reeds.

After our hike, it was late afternoon and we were ready for one last adventure of the day. We went to the northern section of Yam HaMelach to take a dip in the sea. The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth (423 m. below sea level) and the highway descending from Jerusalem has markers showing how far below sea level you are at that moment. The previous day we had gone to Ein Fashehah nature reserve which is a collection of natural springs that have been turned into wading pools, mostly for children. When we arrived, Noah complained that his new sandals hurt him, so he took them off & Roy carried him to the park. Somehow the new sandals, which were all of 5 days old, got lost in the shuffle. When Noah stepped into Yam HaMelach, he jumped back out again because the salt stung too badly where the sandals had rubbed. The sea is about 33% salt (about 8 times saltier than the ocean) and used to cover much of the Judean Hills, which is why they have such stunning formations – they used to be the sea floor.

Floating in Yam HaMelach

Roy's turn...

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