March 14-15

Okay, well, I actually think today was day 18, but hey, who’s counting? Okay, okay, fine, so I am…I’ll change them to the dates instead of the days. It’s cool. Seriously, stop worrying. I mean I really need you to stop worrying. Honestly, you people…

But right, the two day tiyul! I shall tell you all about it, but first I present to you, a PHOTOGRAPH! *gasp*

Becca and Becca in their super rain gear.

Our Tiyul started off a little later than usual. We were up at 6:30 and on the bus by 7:30. It was scheduled to rain that day, so we packed all our warmest most waterproof clothes and headed north to a crusader fortress atop Belvoir (beautiful view, for you silly non-French speakers :)). Before we got there, though, we watch ANOTHER MOVIE! This time we watched Radio and Coach Carter. At that point of the tiyul I thought I was pretty sick of sports movies…I would be severely disappointed later on, just to give you a little sneak peek. But anyway, we go to the crusader fortress to learn about how the English held off Muslim onslaughts. Well, sorta. The fortress was more of an excuse to have some sitting and talking time indoors. Yossi led us into an ancient building in the fortress (I’m not sure what it was, perhaps a stable) and we sat and Yossi told us some more stories. First we learned a little history as always, but then we began to speak of war. A question was posed to the group: It’s our Junior year of college and two weeks before finals. We get the newspaper delivered to us and there is an ad from the Israeli government; it’s calling for all the help it can get in a time of war. The country is under attack, and all the workers are at reserve duty defending Israel’s borders. If we lose this war, it’s the end of Israel. If we go and volunteer, although we won’t be fighting, a factory could still be hit. If we leave school, we fail our finals and lose the money spent on that year of school. What do we do? The discussion was intense. There were arguments from both sides; some were not willing to leave the US, but would do whatever they could to help out, like organize rallies or raise money. Others would drop it all and go to Israel to help out. Many others still were conflicted. Some believed that education, although important, can always be continued later on – Israel, however, if it loses this war, will be gone forever. Some believed that they couldn’t do that to their families, thought that perhaps they could be of better use at home. All opinions were well thought out and very strong – some tears were even shed. Yossi then told us stories of past groups’ exact discussion that we were having, and how some vowed to show up to Israel if that were the case. Well, it became the case during the Yom Kippur War, and indeed some of those kids answered the call. It was perhaps one of the more poignant experiences of the trip so far, one that definitely made me think. A lot.

Yossi in keyhole entrance. In the discussion area.

So, we left and headed back to the bus (no rain yet, thank goodness) and headed toward Tzipori. Tzipori was the only surviving city of the Roman conquest – when Rome came to conquer them, they signed a peace treaty and were not bothered. Tzipori was also the home of Yehudah Ha Nasi. We walked around, ate a nice lunch of cold shnitzel (I love shnitzel), and saw beautiful mosaic floors (including an amazing portrait of a girl made of the mosaic tiles) and theaters on top of the mountain, clearly a sign of Roman influence among the Jews of Tzipori. The weather started to get a bit colder, but it was still beautiful.

The gorgeous mosaic. Brandon on Tzipori.

The next stop on our journey was EL RANCHO. And guess what I ate? Kosher steak! Hooray meat! We ate a pretty damn good meal and in the end the waiters came out with a chocolate mousse with candles in celebration of Carly’s birthday. Happy birthday again! After dinner we went back to the hostel for some hanging out, television time, and much needed (as always) sleep.

El Rancho! Carly and Eli on at El Rancho!

We woke up early to grab a super delicious buffet breakfast. There were muffins, omelettes, crossoints, pudding, cereal, salad (out of place but whatever), fruits, everything. There was even a citrus juicer to squeeze your own fresh grapefruit juice – it was AMAZING…I love grapefruit. We shoveled down some breakfast and headed for the bus. We watched another damn sports movie, Friday Night Lights, which I didn’t much care for, even if one of the football players was quite cute, picked up Yair (Yossi’s son who’s been hanging out with us a lot), and went to Isaac Luria and Yehudah HaLevi’s graves. It was quite Kabbalahtastic!

Jeremy in his rain gear with coffee. Daniel the poltergeist.

By this point in the day it was pouring and hailing a tiny bit. The fog was so thick you could cut a very tasty and substantially filling looking donut out of it. I mean, if you wanted to, that is. Whatever, don’t judge me. Anyway, we walked through Sefat and made our way to a synagogue there. We learned some more about the origins of Kabbalah and sat in a Kabbalistic synagogue. We saw a hole in the bima where an Arab missile once hit; no worries, no one died – it just so happened they were bowing at the exact moment the missile sailed in, so it missed their heads and hit the bima, which took the entire impact. Crazy, huh? We then went to the Sefat Candle Factory. It smelled of wax. No joke. Some of us bought some candles, others of us waited outside in the cold. We then went to a ginormous so-foggy-you-couldn’t-see-anything cemetary. Now it was pouring and super cold, but we huddled up and made the best of it. As we spoke about Kabbalah, huddled in our tiny circle, I took my gaze off of Yossi and glanced around. I gasped, not too loudly, because I could suddenly see everything around me. The fog had lifted and suddenly all the graves, the town, and the mountains were all visible. It was pretty cool. We walked finally to a covered area, where Yossi told us a tale of kids our age who were on an overnight at a school. During the night, Arab terrorists seized the school and held the 85 15-17 year olds hostage. The Israeli government organized a rescue mission, but initially only wounded the terrorists, who turned on the children and opened fire. 22 of them were killed. We then looked at their graves and read their names out loud. A very solemn experience, to say the least.

Ha ha ha! The graveyard.

We got back on the bus and went to Chamat Gader – a sulfur hotsprings in the Golan Heights. Oh my goodness, it was amazing. It was nice and warm, in some cases hot, but definitely always relaxing. The only negative side effect is the smell. I’d hate to admit this, but my hair still stinks. It’s terrible. And gross. Sorry. Oh well. I’ll shower when the internet shuts off.

The boys after a dip. The view of the Golan Heights.

Anyway, we went to dinner at, you guessed it, YET ANOTHER MALL! Hoorah! I ate nasty Chinese food and enjoyed a nice stroll around the place. I’m sick of malls.

And now I’m here, again, writing this all for you loyal readers.

-Jamie out

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4 Responses to “March 14-15”

  1. Marc Miller Says:

    Max feels there is no reason to write since Jamie is doing such a good job of keeping us enlightened on the daily adventures.

  2. Jane Levinson Says:

    Thanks again Jamie. I love reading about all the adventures you guys are having. Did I tell you we saw your parents last week at our favorite restaurant? We were there last night again…your folks weren’t. We missed seeing you and Adam with your sushi! Say hi to all the kids. Love, Jane

  3. Richard Bressler Says:

    Jamie,
    I have been enjoying your writing and your perspective on life in the little country. I have also enjoyed your photos, but what is with that photo of Daniel. I did not think he could look sooo devious. Anyway, y’all keep having fun!

  4. Grandpaverby Says:

    Jamie Nanny and I are keeping up with your adventures.
    Some of the places you are writing about we have visited. It was a long time ago. Your reports make mew feel that I am there with you.

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