A tragic story about a small group of Jewish zealots who took refuge in King Herod's hilltop fortress after the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in 70BCE. As the story goes these men, women and childen became martyrs after resiting a prolonged seige by the Roman army. Here, high above the rest of the world, we saw evidence of their everyday life; storage rooms for food, a mikvah, a synagogue, sleeping quarters and the almost impossible task of gathering and storing water in the desert. Some of our brave group climbed a narrow snake path to the top while the rest of us ascended via cable car. We all came down together and headed back to the hotel where some enjoyed the murky waters of the Dead Sea. After lunch we proceeded to the Machtech Hakatan (small crater) where we squeezed into safari vehicles - off roaders- and experienced the stark beauty of the desert landscape. We began to understand more clearly how people have lived in this region since Biblical times. Those Jeeps took a toll on our poor aging bodies, but it was well worth it! As the day drew to a close we headed to the Negev, where we saw the wonderful work that the OR Movement is doing to populate this area with new communities. This area represents 80% of Israel's territoty, yet currently houses only 20% of its population. Only 10 years old, the OR Movement(OR means light) has established 5 new communities in the Negev and is in the porcess of estabkishing 4 more. We dined there on homemade pizza, salads, etc, while shmoozing with the residents and listening to their concerns. A long ride back to the Hod Hotel left us exhausted but ready for another day.