I have lived in Israel three different years and I have returned for visits more times than I can count. But for me, six years is a long time to be away. I last travelled to Israel in 2011 when I led our congregational trip.
I have been eager to reconnect to our Jewish homeland. So when Eve decided to participate in this year’s Israel Ride, I jumped at the opportunity to join her not as a fellow cyclist but as a willing Sherpa for shlepping a bicycle and luggage.
We equally divided our month long stay between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. For me, the streets of Jerusalem are intimately familiar. However, I made a point to go to places I had not fully explored. It takes a certain nerd like fascination with archaeology and history to say that I loved spending three full days in the Israel Museum. My intellectual experiences were balanced out with culinary discoveries, the daily pleasure of reading an Israeli newspaper in a coffee house, and seeing old friends.
Tel Aviv was very unfamiliar to me and I am so glad Eve suggested we be there. We rented an apartment in a fabulous neighborhood – the Yemenite Quarter – where we were 5 minutes from the famous Carmel Market as well as only 5 minutes from the beach. There were new places to explore including the Tel Aviv Art Museum and the Yitzchak Rabin Center. Another highlight for us was attending a Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Game. Talk about a Jewish Heritage Night! The chants and cheers never stopped!
Though I have been back in the States for over a week, a part of me is still nestled in Israel. I had an amazing time during the four weeks that I was there. I am sure that in numerous ways – during services and in classrooms and conversations – I will continue to share my Israel experiences with all of you.