Monday, February 28, 2011

10 days later

So here we are 10 days later almost back were we started .... sitting in an airport waiting to get on a plane, only this time we are heading home Tel Aviv to Philly- Philly to LA. 26 hours from now LA time we will be home.

We has some change of schedule and a few wet days but on the whole it was

a great trip. From a sleeping standpoint I am looking forward to getting home. From a so many exciting things to see standpoint I have run out of time to see things long before I have run out of things to see.

Ash you were a great tour guide.... we had a wonderful time and you left us wanting to come back.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

צְפַת‎‎ Tzfat part 1 The Citadel

There are so many words that look so wierd when they are translated from hebrew to english, Tzfat is one of them. But that only adds to the mystical history of the the city. So our first stop in Safed (yes that is another spelling) was The Citadel the drive up here was an experience (not an easy or comforting one) but once we got to the top we were able to get out of the car and walk around.

There are seating areas there were built in the early 1200's.

At the very
top is the memorial to The Independence fighters who started their battle to regain control of Tzfat on the evening of May 5, 1948 and their battle was successful and they regained control on May 9th. On a clear day (which Tuesday wasn't) you can see Tiberius so we just listened to the recording and read the plaques.

צְפַת‎‎ Tzfat part 2 The Religious side

As I said earlier Tzfat also called the mystical city is famous for many things military battles, candles, artists and Religion.

So as we were walking amongst all the different artist we found all these different religous sites The Sanz Congrgation which was founded in 1869.

But I think the most amazing site that we found was" The Yosef Car
o Synagogue" the synagogu that Rabbi Joseph Caro, scholar and Kabbalist, author of the "Shulchan Aruch" actually practiced and developed Kabbah Judaism.

one of the more amazing things that we saw but they wouldn't let me take a picture of was the
Genizah where they have books and other religious items dating back to the 14th century.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Amirim ...there are even some Isralies that don't know about Amirim but I can tell you after staying there we will be back.

What a wonderful moshav, only 150 families and they are all vegitarians but that just adds to the quaintness of the experience.

So our arrival at this hidden little moshav came completely by accident . I mean we did have reservations but no one I asked had ever heard about Amirim. Thankfully the GPS did. Amirim has everything you need, a beautiful view, a synagogue, artists galore a sculpture garden two restaurants (we only ate at Stubs and it was good), a few spas (didn't get to try any of them this time) and probably 60 Bed and Breakfasts.

One other thing that they have is a Jet? yes a fighter jet, and no I
n't know why.... there is this little park with this jet on display. We didn't even find this for the first 2 days becsue everytime we drove by it it was either at night or in crazy rain and we didn't see it. I guess we will just have to go back and find out about it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The first Morning in Jerusalem

I know your thinking what a great place to start .... but actually I am going to write about our arrival and first evening. It's just that everyone is still sleeping and I saw the sunrise.

So we returned the car in Haifa and took a bus to Jerusalem it was an amazing way to see the countryside and experience the people. It was a little strange to see the soldiers on the bus walking up and down with their rifles but Ashleigh explained that if they ever lose their rifle the punishment is very severe. So Barry, Ashleigh and me got comfortable for the 2 hour ride to Jerusalem.

It was a little crazy with all the luggage and the security but we made it through the mall and out to the street and to the hotel. A little unpacking and we were off. Down the stairs and down King George past Agron (we did stop to point out Beit Nativ, and the balcony above Barry's head was Ash's room for 6 months) to Liberty Bell Park. Where Barry was going to meet some of his family for the first time.

Barry's work on his genealogy over the last few years has given him a much larger family than he thought he had. But one of the most reward discoveries has been the Israeli arm of the family. Many years ago before I was even doing this blog Barry found Ari Applbaum in Israel (that story will have to wait for another blog) so when Samantha was in Israel for Nativ 26 she was the first member of the family to meet Ari. Then when Bubbie and I were here visiting Samantha we also were able to meet Ari and Na'ama. We had a suprise when we were in Boston back in 2007 for a wedding Ari had joined the David Project and he was going to be living in Boston for a while so Barry did finally get to meet his cousin. But time flies and Ari and Na'ama added some members to the family which up to last night only Ashleigh had met.

But last night we made up for lost time not only did Barry get to meet Na'ama but we both were able to meet the boys (and I must say cute twins do run in the Applbaum family) and as an added bonus Ari's parents also joined us. It was a wonderful afternoon and evening and a great way to start our stay in Jerusalem.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love from home

a little over 4 years ago (yes it has been that long) Bubbie and I came to visit Sam when she was on Nativ 26 and yes she did ask for stuff and yes she did have Daniel and Andrew here with her that I was bringing stuff for But I never thought much about it until I was packing for Ashleigh. That was when Sam told me that the Jr Mints (now kosher) and the Slurpy Machine (now missing in action) were the height of my arrival, and I thought she wanted to see me.

So fast forward to the stuff on Ashleigh's list: leggings, paint, fruit leather, boston baked beans, lavender lotion, removable hooks, anything warm and so many other little things.

So this time I paid more attention to the look on her face as I was taking things out of the suitcase.
The req
uested necessities were greeted with thank you's.
The le
ggings and t-shirts were greeted with smiles.
The new new fleece jacket and sweatshirt got oohhhs and aaahhhs and thank yous
But it was the other stuff, the paint, the food, the picture books and pillow that really made me realize that when you are away from home it's the stuff from home that really is the best.

what is it about vacations and rain?

We were thinking about it and all of the big vacations we have been on have included rain...
Hawaii it rained (I know your saying it rains all the time there, but we did have
to rearrange things becasue of rain).
Williamsberg (spring break with Sam, Ash and Bubbie) it rained although we did
get some nice umbrellas as souvenirs.

Boston in 2007... it rained we have yellow ponchos as souvenirs of that trip.

Then there was the cruise of 2010 where the schedule was changed because of
hurricane Thomas and it rained in one port.

So why should we be surprised that there are thunderstorms for our
first day in Israel....yeah... we have it all,
wind, rain, thunder and lightening.

So we started the morning driving up to
Rosh Hanikra and the rain was
sporadic sometimes just drizzle sometimes
heavy down pour sometimes nothing at all. When we got t
here the wind was unbelievable and they were closed. It seems that they just don't feel that the aerial tram would be safe in high wind, go figure? s
o we looked over the cliff at the waves crashing.

We realized there would be no Rosh Hanikra this trip and decided to see if it was raining in Akko. Well as I am sure you can guess by the title of this post there was rain in Akko,
not just a little rain but heacvy rain and wind by wind I mean real wind the kind that turns you umbrella inside out. So here we are driving round and round not able to find a parking spot (I know why are we looking to park if the weather is so bad, just chalk it up to "in for a dime in for a dollar"). So round and round and round we went from one round-about to another and then all the way around and back through the same streets again. But we found a place to park and readied our selves and got out.

We read the book we knew Akko was a
walking tour
and that most of the time is outside... but hey who thinks of these things we were on an adventure. Well saner minds did prevail so no tour, but we did have brunch (well a meal at 10:00a.m.)at a little stand on El-Jazzar and waited to see if the weather would did we had sunshine for about 10 min and then the rain came again and this time harder. Since we were already soaked we decided that the rain won and we were going back to Amirim.

Where by 12:30 we were back in our cabin having a cup of tea and taking some well needed naps....and so is the tale of our first day in Israel.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I drove in Israel!

and we are still alive to talk about it.... O.k. with that said we have arrived, and although it has been dark more than it has been light and with a little help from Barry's new GPS we made it up to Karmiel and Ashleigh and then we gathered her up and went on to our Bed and Breakfast in Amirim.

Now I have no idea what this area looks like in the daylight but I am already in love with this place, and I will give them my full attention as soon as I have some daylight pictures. (I am also having some picture loading issues so more later)

But the important thing is that we have arrived and we have seen Ashleigh and her apartment.

Friday, February 18, 2011

All our bags are packed were ready to go

So here we sit Friday morning LAX I have already sent my shabbos texts so for those of you who are a time zone or two behind me I apologize, Everyone one else hope I didn't wake you.

I think I got everything done and packed... and the luggage came in at 49.5 pounds that good balance or what?

So we are sitting in LAX for at least another 21/2 hours before we board the plane and my mind is going back to the last time I was leaveing for Israel (it was also my first time), Samantha was on Nativ 26 Bubbie and I were going to visit. Bubbie had been there in 1952, 1987 and now 2007 it was a great trip we had a lot of fun.

But this time it is The Bear who is going for the first time. However we will be going to so many new places that it will be like a new trip for me too.

but back to watching the dynamics of the airport, watching the people and the stories you create just to pass the time,,, we had a guy in a wheel chair pushing another wheel chair that was empty, and the poor mother with 3 kids the oldest being maybe 4, and the most recent person o f note would be the woman with her blond hair pulled back designer duds and her poodle dressed in a coordinated harness/vest and leash, and yes they have started to look alike well at least dress alike.

and it is only 9:00 a.m. but it is the family of 7 that has just gone past all in turquoise golf shirts... I really thought that was for summer camp only. then we have the the young couple waiting for the plane to somewhere I am not sure if they just got married or are off to get married... but they have been here almost as long as Barry and I and I don't think they have seen anyone else.

and now I know one of the good things about texting..... I don't have to hear your conversation. yes this is directed towards the tall guy who has been standing next to me talking to a friend but entertaining everyone within range... he gave himself a present of a trip to Australia and now he is off for a weekend in Vegas and then home to New York I don't want to get into the drama that is going on with his friends that he has missed out on....but soon he will be back in the mix of it.

An hour and ten till we board the plane.... next post will be from Israel!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kehilat HaKerem

A synagogue right next door... just like back home. As many of you know Ashleigh has grown up with Shomrei Torah Synagogue just down the street. In Jerusalem I don't think you can walk down any street with out a synagogue being there but as you move farther out to the north in Ashleighs case you have to look a little bit to find a shul and in Israel you have to look a little harder to find a Masorti shul but I am very excited to report that she has found or someone in Nativ has found a Masorti shul right next door.

Kehilat HaKerem the Masorti shul is actually right across the street. I am looking forward to seeing the shul when we get to see Ash in just 4 days.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

we had our aliyah...I guess it's time to pack

O.k. so we are checking things off the list ... Most of the items so far are for Ashleigh
but that is o.k. it is cheaper then sending packages, well maybe. but enough about that

Now it's time to work on our trip and the excitment is starting to kick in... or maybe it is just the euphoria of having only one more load of laundry to do.

Barry is actually admitting to being excited, he is going to Israel he has spent so much time sending his girls to Israel and now it is his turn.

So on Saturday we had an aliyah and the Tefilat Haderech that we should travel safely, not be eaten by wild beasts or fall pray to bandits or ambush and I am hoping that too. However, we can now consider ourselves blessed we just have to be careful until it's time to go.

I wonder if the prayer covers the packing process also.

But packing is for later...

Now it is time to plan... in the North we have heard about De-Karina Chocolate , Petler Winery and Yarden Winery. A friend in shul was telling us about a facility to see in Haifa that he supports and is affiliated with Masorti it is called Ahava Village for Children and Youth. There is Rosh Hanikra and Akko and Cesaria and Haifa and Safad and ohhhh my I could name so many things and that is only in the north.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Eretz Israel here we come

o.k. so not yet but in a few short days I will start doing laundry, then shopping (Ash has given me a list of items needed) and then we will pack and then we will be off.

Now when I last wrote about Ash in Israel (yes I know it has been a long time) I had mentioned that she was going to Ber'Sheva. Well that plan has changed and she is now living and working in Karmel (as Barry puts it 120 miles north of Jerusalem and 10 miles south of Lebenon). In the morning she is working in the morning she is working at the local elementary school and in the afternoon she is working in the Mercaz, at last conversation she does not know what she is doing in either place. But she is excited because The Bear and I will be coming to see her.

So when Sam was there just a few short years ago Bubbie and I went to visit it was a great trip my first Bubbie's third. We basically stayed in Jerusalem visiting with Sam and seeing the sights of the old city and other local hangouts. But this trip will be different... for starters Ashleigh has moved on to the second half of her year in Israel and she is no longer in Jerusalem, and second it is not my first trip but there are still so many new things for me to see. and third... The Bear will be with me and it is his first time in Israel.

So back to the plan, since Ash is in the north so we will be staying up there for a few days at a little bed and breakfast in Amirim called Eretz HaGalil and then we will be going down to Jerusalem for a few days including Shabbos. It is all starting to get very exciting as the plans come together. As I know more I will post.