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Friday, November 30, 2007

HUC Tiyul #2

These last 3 days have been pretty extraordinary! We took a trip to visit some pretty interesting places. Our first stop on Wednesday was Caesaria. Of course, there probably weren't many Jews there, as this was a city built as a tribute to Caesar. But, the amphitheatre there was a great site and is the site of one of the worst stories in Jewish history, the public killing of Rabbi Akiva. This stop was a quick one, so we didn't spend too much time on the history of the place, but it was nice to see the Mediterranean sea up close!

Our next stop was in Zippori, another Roman city, but the site of where Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi edited the Mishnah, the first written recording of the Oral Torah. There were some pretty interesting things there, including an ancient Synagogue that had a beautiful mosaic floor. Also, in Zippori, we saw an old Roman home with the "Mona Lisa" of the Galilee. For more information on Zippori, check out:

From Zippori, we went to Tiberias, and stayed at a pretty amazing hotel, the Dona Gracia Hotel. I totally recommend checking this place out and staying there if you are ever in Tiberias! It's very eclectic, and the hotel staff was very friendly! There isn't much of a night life in Tiberias, so it was off to bed after some introductory history of Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism with Moshe!

Thursday, we went to Tsfat. I had been to Tsfat before, but it was nice to go again. We met with a Kabbalistic artist named Avram. He was really interesting, and I bought a couple of his pieces of artwork. I also bought a book on Jewish spirituality, and I am looking forward to reading it. After lunch, a bunch of us went through the cemetery in Tsfat. We saw some pretty famous graves, and the history there is amazing! Thursday night, we went to Haifa, and we had dinner and hung out pretty late. It was fun, and since I love Haifa, I really had a great time.

On Friday, we went to visit the Leo Baeck school. This is a truly amazing place with a kindergarten, primary school, middle school, high school, and lots of adult education. This was an awesome place where they use many different methods to teach people of all ages, all socioeconomic classes, and all cultures. These people are very special, and Leo Baeck is a great place in a great location in Haifa.

Then, it was back to Jerusalem, where I was very happy to see Carlie and Batya again. It was a short tiyul, but I missed my family, and I am glad to be back home!

Happy Hannukah!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Being an American Football Fan living in a "Football" World

I haven't spent much time in this blog speaking about how it is living as an American in a foreign country. I would like to spend the majority of this blog addressing this. Let me just put this out there first. I am a Zionist, I always have been a Zionist, and I always will be a Zionist. My love for Eretz Yisrael is spiritual, religious, and among many other things unconditional. This doesn't mean I love everything about Israel. On the contrary, there are many things about Israel I don't love.

It is quite difficult at times to be an American in Israel, whether it's the lack of language ability or just the cultural differences in the approach to common communication. What strikes me as most difficult are the little things, the less than really important things...i.e., watching football, that is American football, not to get confused with the "real football." And, trust me, as an avid soccer fan, player and coach for many years, I do love soccer. But to an American, there is only one kind of football, and it doesn't involve a round ball.

Let's also discuss the fact that American Jews really have a difficult time being American football fans. After all, the ball used is not so kosher---it's a pigskin. But, I digress. As a die hard University of Georgia football fan, I have enjoyed watching them play for quite a long time...and it's not the easiest thing to do in Israel. First, there's the time change. Than, there's the fact that Israeli television only plays ACC and Big 12 football games. Sometimes, they play PAC 10 games...but there is only one a week. So, while I watch the football game from the less than real conference on tv, I listen over the internet to the UGA game. And, let me tell you...listening to UGA destroy the University of Florida gators wasn't as great as watching it!

We are having a great time here...with our weekly trip to visit our Ethiopian family in Meveseret Zion, an absorption center, and all the other wonderful things we do...including breakfast together (while Carlie is in daycare) on Fridays! We realize our time is flying by here, and we can't wait to see Dad and Mom in January!

Here's to more FOOTBALL and less "football!"