As we head out to the baptism, we learn that Israeli school buses have both television and wifi! (I'm impressed!)
In Tiberius, we had schwarmas at a snack bar that had free wifi. Another woman in our group asked if I could download a Carrie Underwood song suitable for a baptism, but my phone warned me that the site had a virus, so I couldn't.
On the way to the Jordan River, we stopped at another kibbutz, the first of its kind and the first Jewish settlement east of the Jordan. It was here in May of 1948 they withstood a Syrian attack, and the tank below marks where it was stopped.
I hadn't expected the strength of the patriotism in the recording, as we in Canada tend to temper our words so as not to offend. But this kibbutz has something to be proud of, a handful of farmers making homemade Molotov cocktails and defending their land. But in retrospect, should I expect anything less? Should I expect a day-old nation who had survived the Holocaust to roll over and die?
No. And they didn't.
At the Jordan River, not at the site where Jesus was baptized, but one that leaves the Sea of Galilee, we watch 6 of our group get baptized. It is always a stirring moment, and this is a beautiful spot. Oddly, catfish fill the waters and since catfish have no scales, they are not eaten by the Jews. So, they grow big.
We end our day with a tour of the kibbutz near our hotel. Rafe spent ten years in one like this, and thinks highly of them. In essence, they are communism in its purest form, as it was meant to be, and we learn that 33% of Israeli pilots grow up in a kibbutz, where they learn good motor skills earlier than the majority of their age group.
It's a healthy lifestyle, eating what you grow, working hard, sharing everything. I can see the allure of them to many young Jews fleeing other countries. In fact, I wonder if those fleeing Russian communism take to them better because they were used to having nothing, and looked for the commune in its original form to perhaps correct the way they experienced communism.
We finally learned what creatures are making noises at night outside our windows. They are hyenas and wolves. I am surprised that there are still wolves here. It's a little unnerving. But I still don't feel unsafe at any time.
Tomorrow is a big day. We go to Jordan!