Victoria’s Secrets: Visiting Masada and the nearby Dead Sea

Photo by Victoria Schneps

My first visit to Israel two decades ago was to celebrate my daughter Samantha’s Bas Mitzvah at Masada, because the girls’ ceremony couldn’t be done at the Western Wall.

It was sweet to come back and revisit the holy historical site. Masada is the place where Jewish zealots between 73-74 BCE fled the Romans. They built a fortress to protect the men, women, and children on a plateau on the Masada mountain top.

The Roman General, Lucius Flavius Silva, tried for weeks to reach the rebels in their hilltop fortress. But the Jews chose suicide rather than be captured, tortured and turned into slaves. 

Their bravery is what legends are made of. Perhaps the Romans won the battle, but the rebels’ courage is a symbol of the strength of the Jewish people.

From the most visited site in Israel, we traveled a few miles south to the Dead Sea, another of my favorite places in Israel.

We had a buffet luncheon at the Herods Dead Sea Hotel and after lunch we got lockers and changed into our swimsuits to plunge into the Dead Sea.

It is the saltiest sea in the world, so you can’t sink! I brought copies of our newspapers because you can sit without sinking and read them. What fun! 

We covered ourselves with mud, promising to create the softest skin, and then hosed it off a few minutes later.

We chose not to go back into the 104 degree heat at the sea and happily jumped into the hotel’s pool to cool off. We were having such fun and didn’t want to leave, but by 5:30 we decided we had to go back to Jerusalem for another memorable dinner.