Our intrepid travellers are reporting in for Part 2 of their Israel Family Trip 2019, and they’ve been busy! See what they’ve been up to these past few days:
It has been an unbelievable few days. Since we last left you, we were sitting peacefully in the Galilee. The northern part of Israel is beautiful, but wow, is it hot! Thankfully, we had activities that allowed us a chance to take a break from the heat. Half of our group decided that they wanted to go for a water hike through one of the tributaries of the Jordan River. Though it may have had a bit of an Apocalypse Now vibe, we definitely made the best of it. The other half of the group went to Moshav Eliad, named after the famous Israeli spy Eli Cohen. At the moshav (like a kibbutz) we had the opportunity to hear from those who make their living off the land. Some of us made art prints and others worked with leather. Perhaps the best part was the interactions and meetings we had with those who lived there—hearing their stories about life on the Syrian border.
Lunch was catered by our Puzzle Israel crew and then we headed to our next location. The kids in our group had a chance to make some chocolate at the De Karina Chocolate factory, while the parents enjoyed local wine and cheeses from Pelter Winery. The rose and the date brandy were absolutely hits!
Following the local flavor, the group headed farther north for a 4×4 Jeep tour. As our guide said, he has an “allergy for paved roads”, so many of us were bouncing and laughing and having a great time on the tour. At the top of mountain, we were able to view the spot where the borders of Syria, Jordan, and Israel meet. Together with our guides, we began to understand some of the unique realities of life for Israelis who live on the border.
Dinner was truly special this night. We were again welcomed by the Puzzle Israel crew, who cooked a 5-star meal out under the stars in an abandoned Syrian outpost. We were welcomed not only by our chefs, but also by a wonderful and beautiful musical company. Dinner and dancing—even a hora! Our very own Cantor Garfein took it home with “Adon Olam”! It was so great to see so many smiling faces laughing, dancing, and enjoying.
On Wednesday morning we woke up and said goodbye to our home in the Galilee for the next few days as we headed to the ancient city of Akko (Acre). There, we walked through the crusader halls and heard stories of how this city was nearly impossible to conquer for hundreds of years. Lunch was at a delicious and local fish restaurant (we would recommend the sea bream—whole fish! I think our kids would recommend the chicken fingers…).
From there we began to make our way to Jerusalem with a stop at Hard, a local kibbutz that works with troubled youth and developmentally delayed adults. It was quite the experience feeding the young calves and chickens on the kibbutz, and of course harvesting eggs. I don’t think that any one of us was prepared to work on a farm on this trip! But boy—did we slave! It was definitely a highlight seeing the Rabbi and Cantor feed the chickens!
We worked so hard that a well deserved nap took place and we woke up in Jerusalem. After checking into our hotel, we needed hot showers and little time to relax before heading to Eucalpytus. The chef came out to meet with us and we enjoyed biblically themed food locally sourced from the Jerusalem hills.
We can’t wait for what will happen next in Israel!
Rabbi Greg Weitzman, 2019
We’re so excited to hear more from them (and also a little bit jealous, especially of all the amazing food!). In the meantime, enjoy these photos of our clergy and congregants feeding farm animals and more: