Wednesday, February 20, 2008

So much to do so little time to blog!

So much to do so little time to blog!

As we drove north, the group marvelled at the complexity of Israel's politics and landscape. Even to know that just an hour or so behind us was snow in Jerusalem and here was sun?

We went to one of my favorite sites in Israel, Beit Shean. (Like the Torah portions, each one is my favorite...) Although the weather was cold and blustery, we had a great time looking at all the Roman ruins. We especially enjoyed the ancient "bathrooms" and we took lots of pictures :)

After this, we stopped at the Kinneret Cemetery on the shores of the Kinneret - the Sea of Galilee. In this beautiful cemetery are buried some of Israel's pioneers and famous folks. We went to the grave of Rachel, Israel's national poet...and we placed stones on her grave and read some of her poems. Then we visited nearby the grave of Naomi Shemer and sang a little bit of Jerusalem of Gold, her most famous song. We also read a bit of the last poem she wrote, in honor of Ilan Ramon, the Israeli astronaut who died in the Columbia disaster. Although it was set to music after her death, she wsnt able to do that herself. The Kinneret Cemetery is sucha peaceful and beautiful spot and the overlook is gorgeous.

We stopped in Capernaum, where St Peter was said to have lived. Today a modern church stands next to an ancient synagoge and Christian prayers mingled with Jewish do we know where is St Peter's house? It was the house that had 11 layers of the floor - meaning that the home had been occupied through hundreds if not thousands of years.

Very interesting - and someplace I'd never been before! As Rabbi Ben Bag Bag says about the Torah, turn it and turn it for everything is within it. The same is with visiting Israel. There is always something new to find and see.

Continuing up north into the Golan, we watched the view as we climbed in our bus...we came to the city of Katzrin and had a yummy lunch and what Renee termed the best ice cream in the Golan. You know it's good when even your guide who recommends the ice cream goes and eats it! It really was fabulous! (My mom wants me to note that it was really gelato...I had tiramisu flavor - yum!)

After lunch we embarked on a Jeep tour (they were actually Land Rovers) to see the Golan Heights. As Warren Christopher once said "ah....Geography IS important!" - we saw the very important significance of the Heights...from them you can just see the whole of Israel arrayed before you. The beauty is breathtaking but the knowledge of the danger to the towns and kibbutzim and fields and PEOPLE below if these high parts are not in our hands....

We saw wild boar and jackals in the fields and talked about the ruins of the Syrian army bases. The recent rain and snow had left the off-roads very muddy and full of deep puddles. At least we didn't have to get out and push!!!

Our jeeps dropped us off at the Golan Winery where we toured and tasted...yum!

We arrived in the evening after the wine tour at our hotel in Kibbutz Kfar Blum. The hotel was lovely and the dinner delicious.

After dinner most of us met together in the somewhat noisy lobby and shared stories, some details about the trip, and it was just a nice chance to be all together.

Everyone thought the hotel was wonderful and I know we all slept so well after such a busy day:)!

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