Israel Education: Picking Your Battles (part 2)

Continued from yesterday…

Har Sadom

Later in the day I received a call from Yisrael’s 5th grade teacher asking why he hadn’t gone on the class trip. From the permission slip that was sent home on paper (we’ve yet to receive the electronic communications we’ve been requesting for 3+ years) we determined that the 5th & 6th grade boys and girls would be going together on this full day (8:30 am – 6:30 pm) trip to Har Sodom where they would see Lot’s pillar of salt wife, and Ayin Bodek Nature Reserve where they’d be hiking a moderate to difficult level trail through water and needed to bring:

  • Comfortable shoes for walking in water
  • Breakfast, lunch & snacks
  • 3 Liters water
  • Hat & change of clothes

We (along with Yisrael) decided that he would not go on this trip for the following reasons: Continue reading Israel Education: Picking Your Battles (part 2)


Yay – We Got Rained Out!

I never thought I’d be as happy to see rain as I was this morning!  We were scheduled to go on a Nefesh B’Nefesh tiyul (trip) to Neot Kedumim and the event was rained out – but the announcement came after we were already en route to Jerusalem to catch the bus. 

Rained out of Chanukah trip

Our friend Judy suggested that she drop us off at the Israel Museum so that the trip wouldn’t be a complete wash out, but when we arrived we learned that they don’t open until 10:00 and it was 8:30. Around the corner the Bible Lands Museum sign indicated that they open at 9:30.  We had an hour to invest somewhere so Judy dropped us off to enjoy a morning stroll around the Rose Gardens.  Within minutes of arrival, before we topped the first set of stairs, the drizzle turned into rain and – despite the fact that we saw a rainbow over Jerusalem and it was drizzling in Ma’ale Adumim when we were getting ready to leave, and I strongly suggested that Michael bring a jacket and at least wear a hat to keep the sun out of his eyes – not all of us had come prepared for rain!  I, of course, was already wearing my raincoat and quickly pulled Yisrael’s out of my pocket and slipped it on him while his friend Eliad donned a jacket without a hood or hat. Continue reading Yay – We Got Rained Out!


Tiyul: Kotel Tunnels and Yeshiva Rabbi Akiva

On Monday, February 16th the City of Ma’ale Adumim treated the new olim to a tour of the Kotel tunnels. I’ve been meaning to tell you all about it for weeks but hadn’t had the time to edit the video I took. This week our local news paper Zman Ma’ale (Ma’ale Times) printed a photo of our group and ran a story about the community aliyah program – you can view it here if you’d like.

Because of the low quality light in the tunnels I wasn’t able to get very many good still shots, but here are a few. Continue reading Tiyul: Kotel Tunnels and Yeshiva Rabbi Akiva


Tiyul: En Gedi

On Tuesday, December 23rd we were treated to a tiyul (trip) to En Gedi, compliments of the City of Maaleh Adumim’s Community Aliyah program. The trip was advertised as an “easy hike”, I later learned that meant that there are handrails to grab onto while climbing or descending the steepest and most dangerous parts of the mountain trail. Michael and Yisrael had a wonderful time; I suffered from unphysicalfit-itis and warned the young people around me “this is what could happen to you if you don’t take good care of your body while you’re still young!”

We had a very interesting and knowledgeable tour guide who, prior to moving to Israel a few years ago, had been a sniper in the US Marines, worked as a security contractor in Iraq, and was bull fighter in Spain; needless to say I felt pretty safe with him around!

Michael took advantage of this scenic spot to try out his new digital camera. This brought out a contrast in our behaviors that I had not previously been aware of; he took 326 shots to my 77 – and we both captured the same things. It has taken me a few weeks to find the motivation to go through the 403 photos to determine which ones to share with you. To be fair, I went through his first and he did get quite a few really nice shots. The best (in my opinion, since I’m the one who did all the work of cropping and resizing files) 85 shots have been uploaded to the photo gallery. Here are a few highlighting this incredibly beautiful place in the desert.
Continue reading Tiyul: En Gedi


Tiyul: Caesarea National Park

On Tuesday Michael’s ulpan treated us to an inexpensive (25 shekels each – $6.39!) trip to three sites in the Haifa region of Israel: Caesarea, Rothschild Park and Binyamina Winery.

Caesarea (pronounced Kaysarya – or Chezahria, Sezahrea, or Kayzahria by some Christians we know) was my favorite. Rich in history and beauty, it’s a place I’m already longing to go back to – just not in the summer. Close to/at sea level, the temperature was in the high 70s/low 80s and humid there on this mid-November day, but there was a nice sea breeze. I imagine in the summer the heat would be unbearable for me.

I’m sure you’re more interested in seeing the photos than reading paragraphs full of descriptive words, so I’ll just sprinkle in a few comments here and there and hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Continue reading Tiyul: Caesarea National Park


Tiyul: Binyamina Winery

After our brief visit to Rothschild Gardens we were off to what we expected would be a fun finale, the Binyamina Winery.

We were excited as we had been told that the visitor center offers a wide range of activities including a tour of the winery and special wine tasting events – what better way to end the day! But, as with many things in life, our plans don’t always work out the way we expect. Continue reading Tiyul: Binyamina Winery


Tiyul: Baron Edmond de Rothschild Park

Michael’s ulpan took us to the gardens of Baron Edmond de Rothschild National Park on the outskirts of Zichron Yaakov on Tuesday. A beautiful place – but not recommended for allergy sufferers! Fortunately this was the second stop of three on this tiyul, affording me the opportunity to enjoy Caesarea before having an asthma attack in these beautiful gardens.

Figuring I’d be sneezing my way through this place, I handed the camera to Michael so we’d be able to share the experience with you – at least the visual part of the experience. I was amused by people I witnessed sticking their noses in the flowers and walking away with expressions of ecstasy – as though they had just inhaled the richest chocolate in the world, imagine! So, if you want to experience the scents you’ll just have to go there yourself! Continue reading Tiyul: Baron Edmond de Rothschild Park


Tiyul: Eretz Bereishit

The City of Ma’aleh Adumim treated new olim to a trip to (Eretz Bereishit/Genesis Land) on Sunday, September 21st. As we traveled (the brave ones on camels) down the road to Avraham’s tent we were transported back to an ancient world.

We were greeted by Avraham and invited to wash our hands after our journey. Then we experienced “Hafla” (the ancient hospitality that Avraham is famous for) as we enjoyed a Kosher meat meal in his tent, sitting on mattresses around low tables. It was fun and the food was delicious and nicely presented.
Continue reading Tiyul: Eretz Bereishit


Hezekiah’s Tunnel: Did You Ever Do Something Really Stupid?

Well I did on Sunday! I should start out by telling you that I have a fear of heights, am claustrophobic, asthmatic, arthritic and overweight. So of all the potential tourist activities to choose from to celebrate our son’s first day of school in our new country, why did I pick the tour of Hezekiah’s Tunnel? I am usually very thorough in researching anything before I do it, but lately I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with certain stressful aspects of our Aliyah (like our missing lift). Regardless of the reason, it was a very stupid choice for us.

After a bus ride from hell Continue reading Hezekiah’s Tunnel: Did You Ever Do Something Really Stupid?


In Honor of Mom’s Birthday – Dead Sea Adventure

I’ve added the photos I took of our Dead Sea adventure this week to the photo gallery.

Did you know that the Dead Sea is 420 meters (1378 ft) below sea level? My popping ears kept reminding me as we wound our way DOWN mountains.

The drive made me much more aware of the fact that we are living in the desert! Continue reading In Honor of Mom’s Birthday – Dead Sea Adventure