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Monday, January 31, 2011

Astronomy Israel is the Official Provider of Star Tours for Taglit-Birthright Israel

We have been privileged to give star tours to groups from Taglit-Birthright Israel during January. Birthright Israel is a wonderful program that provides scholarships to students who have never visited Israel to come and see the Promised Land. The program also mixes in Israeli students and IDF soldiers (with only a few exceptions, all Israelis must do military duty after completing high school) with a seasoned tour guide. We usually start with groups of around 50, dwindling down to the hard-core interested after a couple of hours. Interestingly enough, it has usually been the women who become fascinated and stick around past the very end. We have had very interesting discussions with them ranging all the way from science to personal counseling about the direction of their lives.

There are too many students to get to Mitzpe Ramon, so we usually meet up with them when they are staying at Sde Boker, only about 10 miles from Mitzpe Ramon. Last week, we rendezvoused with the group at Hawarim Farm, a Bedouin-experience camp not far from Sde Boker. It is in the middle of the desert, but for some reason the camp feels it needs to blast its white and green spotlights across the desert vastness all night long. We had a hard time finding a nearby spot where we could watch the stars, although we were in the middle of the wilderness. Turn off the lights, already!

A hard-core group from Taglit-Birthright Israel stays to the very end of our star tour.

We are scheduled to do another star tour with a group this coming Monday, if the weather holds. We've been getting a few days of steady rain now that we are well into winter. 

Here's hoping we get to meet up, and...

Keep on looking up!

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