In my family, foreign travel is pretty common. My dad is gone half the year to faraway places such as Vietnam and Thailand and all of us try to travel as much as we can. My mom enjoyed Costa Rica, my sister raved about Greece, and I am a huge fan of Ireland. One of the only places we all visit together and often is Israel. Our visits to Israel are different from other international travel and are unique for many reasons. Time spent in Israel is always intense, recharging spiritual batteries, seeing friends and family, and discovering new exciting places.
During the trip this summer, we spent a lot of time hiking around the north of Israel. We spent days exploring parks where hidden streams and waterfalls refresh and sustain. While exploring the incredible natural beauty of places like the Beit Shaan Valley and Tel Dan, we were amazed to find ancient 4000 year old Canaanite gates and amazing mosaics from a synagogue constructed over 1500 years ago. There is something truly special about walking in a place where our forefathers stepped so many years ago. Spirituality infuses the environment enabling me to look inward even as I am overwhelmed by my surroundings.
We spent a lot of time at my Mom’s kibbutz, near Rosh Pina. Our cousin’s Bar Mitzvah provided an opportunity to meet and connect with an extended group of family and friends. From Cousin Yuval, the international businessman, to our brother in Law who is a Rabbi and teacher at a yeshiva in the old city of Jerusalem, we found our extended Israeli family to be as diverse as it is fascinating. The excitement, spontaneity, and creativity of everyone around us was contagious. It is a great thing to be immersed in, which is probably why my sister did not fly back with us this year. She made aliyah in June, and is settling into her role as an integral part of Israel’s vibrant society.
Every day in Israel is an adventure; exploring, eating, shopping, touring, biking, hiking, swimming, praying, learning and more. From the white night crowds on the streets of Tel Aviv at 3AM to the quiet wonder of a secret limestone cave in Haifa, no matter how many times we visit there is always something new.
Did you know that Charleston has a partnership with the Hadera-Eiron region in Israel? If you're planning a trip and would like to experience home hospitality with our friends in the region, contact RebeccaL@jewishcharleston.org