FC: Israel | 2009
1: We were all surprised when Bubbe & Saba Jer gave the grandkids the gift of a lifetime...a trip to Israel.
2: Sunday, July 19 We left the JCC, after a prayer for a safe trip, in the Dave’s Limo van on our way to the Newark International Airport. Our tour companions were Caroline and Steve Schwartz and their daughter Rebecca, from Dover; Marla and Ross Cooper and their sons Jordan and Ethan, Garnet Valley PA, and the grandparents, Renee and Jerry Covin; Susan and Steve Ebner with their children Seth and twins Benny and Amanda, N Wilmington; and Mara Raskin – the official trip photographer - and her daughters Rebecca and Rachel. We waited at the airport’s departure area while the driver tried to open the luggage compartment. Apparently, a piece of luggage had jammed the inner handle. Panic! After numerous attempts by the driver and several of our male tour members, Mara climbed up onto the back bumper and using her Yoga strength finessed and pushed open the door.
3: While waiting in the immigration line shlepping all our luggage along with returning Israelis, Kacy said she thought it must be very hard for such young children to learn Hebrew. Bubbe replied that it was no more difficult than her learning English, as it was their native language. Kory, Kacy, and Austin were grilled on their birthdates and ages. Kacy remarked at how easy it was for Saba Jer to make friends. Bubbe said if you smile and say hello to someone they will usually smile back and be friendly; however, this seems to be easier for Saba Jer than for most people. | The plane ride was very long (12 hours) but it was a good flight. We arrived at Ben Gurion airport very tired. Rabbi and Alisa Beals and their daughters Rachel and Sheera; and Debbie and Jerome Nachlis and their sons Josh and Aaron joined us. Because our tour guide, Peter Abelow, was there to greet us, we did not have to go through the security checkpoint – that was surprising.
4: Israel | Family Israel Adventure with Bubbe, Saba Jer, Kory, Kacy & Austin July 19-31, 2009 | Day 1 – Monday, July 20 We were each given a large water bottle in an insulated bag with shoulder strap and a Keshet cap and instructed that we were to always have | both with us at all times. We were told to drink at least a full bottle of water each day. We were reminded to take our water and caps whenever we got off the bus. Neot Kedumim Biblical Nature Reserve was our first stop. Although tired and hot, we enjoyed learning about the pressing of olives (it’s done with the very small, young olives). They still use the old stone wheels to press the olives and the grapes.
5: Pamela demonstrated and gave us each some freshly pressed olive oil. The olive trees have silvery leaves. We also saw pomegranate, fig, date palm and almond trees; as well as grape vines. The children ground herbs in a mortar and pestle. Each family planted a tree in the biblical forest. We learned how wheat was harvested and Kory walked in the water wheel.
6: After brunch we visited Independence Hall in Tel Aviv where the declaration of the State of Israel was signed on May 14, 1948. Though it was interesting, we were all exhausted. | After some confusion about our adjoining rooms, we had a great dinner at the beautiful Hotel Kibbutz Lavi. Special meals were prepared for Kory and Kacy. Kory really liked his meal. Kacy is more picky about her food. Austin always finds something to eat. The children selected postcards to send home. They arrived two days before we got home.
7: Upon a review of our first day, Kory said it felt “cool” to be among so many Jewish people. He and Austin were exhausted. Kory actually slept through the Independence Hall presentation. Kacy found some of the day’s events boring and too much like Hebrew school. However, she’s a real trooper; though tired, she participated in everything. | Austin said if his family came to Israel, he’d take them to Jerusalem to see the gold domed mosque – the Muslim Dome of the Rock.
8: Wow! | Breathtaking and windy! Overlooking Sea of Gallilee. | Day 2 – Tuesday, July 21 Our gang left early to hike the Arbel Cliffs. Top to bottom, up and down, narrow ledges, hand and foot holds. Wow! We had no idea at the start – we might not have gone. Peter ordered our small band to descend alternately adult/ child. Elissa helped Austin as he could just about reach from rung to rung at places. At the bottom, we looked up and Kory said “Awsome!”. It took 1and 1/2 hours to climb down. We encountered a steer, cows, and calf on the path – lots of poop.
9: Ready to climb down | Checking out the challenge ahead | Austin enjoying a last view from the top. | High on height!
10: One at a time | What an experience!
11: Civilization below. | Resting at the bottom | Arbel hikers triumphant after 1+.5 hrs
12: The tour of Kibbutz Lavi was very interesting. Austin was amazed at the children’s “safe house” entrance for missile attacks. That was an eye opener for all 3 children.
13: Kacy thought the baby house (where the resident’s leave their children while working and also learn how to care for the babies) was neat; especially the toys they made from everyday items like vacuum hoses. The kibbutz runs a large dairy farm – the restaurant serves their milk and cheese products – and is the largest manufacturer of synagogue furniture.
14: We continued on to Tzippori for services at the site of the oldest synagogue. It was so named because if perched on the top of a mountain like a bird (zippor in Hebrew means bird). The archeological digs there showed it was once a thriving Jewish city after the destruction of the Second Temple. The ancient mosaic “rugs” were amazing. Numerous homes were being uncovered and they all had these beautiful mosaic “rugs”. One of the homes was quite large and the “rug” showed the markings for where to put the couches for large gatherings. Kacy really loved the “rugs”. The youngsters wrote postcards to the soldiers. It was too hot in the synagogue for them to trace the mosaics.
16: Kory and Josh assisting Rabbi Beals | The Congregation of Aaron in the Tabernacle | A mosaic tile "rug" | Large home - must have been someone important
17: Signs of the Zodiac | Zippori' s synagogue entrance | exquisite detail | Cornerstones from esophagus (coffins) - nothing goes to waste | More "rugs" being uncovered. | Amazing how the colors lasted. | Note the open air theater on the left in this model
18: The Mediterranean | We bused along the Sea of Gallillee, which is actually a lake. This was where it is said Jesus walked on water. | At Rosh Hanikra, on the Mediterranean, we rode cable cars down to the underground grottos. The rushing water made thundering noise.
19: The Grottos
21: Kacy and Austin met some guards at the Lebanon border gates. Kory biked 3 miles along the beach which he said was a nice route. We met at the Achziv Beach for swimming and a bar-b-q dinner. The water was great, but lots of rocks to walk over. Kacy met some Arab gals and let them try her goggles.
22: Kacy and Austin after a great swim in the Mediterranean at Achziv Beach | On our way to the Galil forest | It's larger than Vicki's Hanukkah menorah
23: Day 3, Wednesday, July 22 A special day! We went to Hurbat Nevuraya, the remains of a Mishna period synagogue in the ancient village of Bar’am in the Galil forest. | Beals on Wheels | Hurbat Nevuraya's Mishna synagogue remains .