Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Weekend in the North

So, this should have been posted earlier this week - say when I returned from the North or right after the weekend...

Check out the pictures from the weekend here.

We spent this past weekend traveling around the North of Israel. We left Friday morning at 6:00 a.m. and stopped at a really nice rest stop for breakfast. I had brought some cereal but wanted to see what they offered. Logically I had to get a croissant. I also wanted chocolate milk, but the lady didn't understand me asking for it in English so I said "halav" which is Hebrew for milk. I got hot milk. That is not the same thing, in case you were wondering. I found out that I should have asked for "Chocolat". Obviously I didn't know.

The first place we went was Tzfat. Tzfat is an old city that it the birthplace of Kabbala, home to many old synagogues, and the place where many famous prayers were written. It is also a resting place of many famous Rabbis from many periods of Jewish history. We walked around the city and learned a bit about it. I put on tefillin with a Chabad guy who was previosly not religous, had graduated from the University of Denver ( :-) ) Law School, and was a millionaire lawyer in Miami. That was an interesting discussion.

We went hiking around a mountain near Tzfat to see the nice (green) North. We saw where the headquarters of the Israeli Radar/Defense is in the North that monitors the border with Lebanon and Syria. We then drove through Tiberias, saw the Sea of the Galilee and the Golan Mountains, and went to our home for the weekend Kibbutz Daganya Bet.

Our Kibbutz was a nice place and we did a little Shabbat shindig, had dinner, and hung out. They had hamocks which is really fun. In the morning we went on a walk to Deganya Aleph, the first Kibbutz, and talked about its founding in the early 1900s and the Kibbutz movement. We learned how they fought off the Syrians in the War of Independance. We also went to a place that was basically a clearinghouse for people who came to Israel and wanted to start new kibbutzim. We walked by the Jordan River and also went to a really beautiful cemetary where a lot of Israeli Pioneers and Zionists are buried including the poets Rachel and Naomi Shomer. We didn't get in the Jordan River or the Kineret (Galilee) though.

After having gone back for lunch, a few of us returned to a bridge over the Jordan River and did a little Tashlich service. One of the girls in my group wanted to find out about getting rebaptized so we went to the place where they do baptisms on the Jordan River and while she found out about it, I learned about Jesus - on Shabbat. That afternoon we also went to a chocolate store. Apparently this Kibbutz makes some of the best chocolate in Israel. Their ice cream certainly seemed to attest to that :-) . We hung out in the afternoon - and our rooms had TV (with cable) which is apparently a commodity for us.

We returned to Be'er Sheva Saturday night.

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