December 2, 2022 -

First Full Day, Part I: Independence Hall and the Ayalon Institute

Breakfast
WHEW! A very full, but wonderful day. We started out bright and early, which was made easier by the insane breakfast buffet at the Dan Hotel. A ton of fresh vegetables, 10 different kinds of cheeses, 8 different kinds of fish and enough bread to feed a small army bolstered us for the busy day ahead!

Our first stop was Independence Hall, where we learned about the actual day the State of Israel was founded (May 14, 1948), what went into the planning of that moment, and we listened to the recording of David Ben-Gurion making the proclamation. We sang Hatikvah right along with the recording at the end of Ben-Gurion’s statements. You really got a little bit of a sense at how incredible that moment must have been for the people in that room, and, of course, Jews around the world.

Independence Hall

From there, we went to the Ayalon Institute, which was a secret ammunition factory made to look like a kibbutz in order to fool the British during the British Mandate. The men and women who risked their lives, sometimes hourly, worked long hours in a secret underground factory making ammunition for the smuggled weapons that became crucial to the early success of the Jewish fighters. The noise and small of the factory was hidden by the laundry and the bakery that the factory was built under. Between 1945 and 1948 they manufactured more than 2 million bullets! Truly a remarkable story.

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It is late, so stay tuned for the rest of our first day . . . “Digging” Israel!