Skip to main content

Israel: Part 2

Probably the most interesting thing for me about visiting Israel is not being a minority for the first time in my life. That being said, I don't necessarily feel I've got a lot in common with ALL Jews. Not being religious, and being extremely socially liberal, I can't say I understand the Hasidic Jews beliefs or way of life at all. But according to our guide, Roni (roni_tours@walla.com), who was fantastic, by the way, most Israelis don't understand them much either. Nevertheless, they have a lot of power in Israel, which is why they don't fight in the Israeli army, and insist on businesses shutting down for Sabbath in Jerusalem.

Of course, the other amazing thing for me was just the ancient history of the place. Coming from a new country like Canada, where any structure over 100 years old is considering 'historical', it was mind boggling to see so many buildings over 2000 years old still standing. If the history interests you, then definitely visit places like Ceasarea, Acco and Old Jerusalem.


Below is a photo of Old Jerusalem I took:


Though Israel is a Jewish country, it is a place considered sacred to many religions including Muslims, Christians and Baha'i. Roni took us to see many of the Christian holy sites in Old Jerusalem, which was fascinating. There were many, many Christians visiting and praying all over the place! He also took us for a brief visit to Haifa, which is the holiest site for the Baha'i.
We also went to the wailing wall, which is where the Jews pray. I stuck a little prayer on a folded up piece of paper into a crevice in the wall, as is tradition, even though I don't pray.

We also went museum mad during our visit. You definitely have to visit some museums if you are in Israel!

The Herzl Museum was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. Its interactive, so I think even kids age 12+ might enjoy it.  In fact, it had a profound impact on me, especially when Roni told us some personal information about Theodor Herzl. He was the first one to propose the idea of a Jewish state, after witnessing the ongoing anti-semitism in Europe in the 19th century. Sadly, he died in his 40s, long before Israel became a state. Even more tragic, is that none of his 3 children or his grandchild (murdered in the Holocaust) lived to see it. But his remains were eventually moved from Europe to Israel and you can visit his tomb on the grounds of the museum.

If you are interested in archaeology or ancient and/or biblical history, than you definitely have to visit the Israel Museum. As an added bonus, its one of the few places open Fridays and Saturdays in Jerusalem!

If you can stomach it, a visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum is also a must. It is the best Holocaust museum of have seen yet, even better than the one in Washington, D.C. We were trying to fit in a lot the day we went, so our time there was limited. I think its one of those places you could go many times and still feel like you learn a lot more each time.

Below is a monument honoring Janusz Korczak, a Polish teacher at an orphanage, who refused refuge and went to the gas chambers with his Jewish students.


Below is a shot of the Dead Sea. We didn't actually go in it. First of all, it was a bit too cool for outdoor swimming while we were there, but also, we didn't bring bathing suits.


To be honest, though Israel has a lot of natural beauty, that's not what I was really there to see. I wanted to focus on the history and culture.

If you are interested in doing outdoorsy stuff, there is a lot of that too: swimming in the Dead Sea, beautiful beaches, hikes in the desert, etc.

Our guide, Roni, told us he has led tours focusing on the plants and trees in Israel, and bird watching ones too. There are lots of birds!!


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Blackfly Coolers: Product Review

Summer is over! Well, at least if you're a student. Officially it doesn't end for a few weeks, and it certainly still feels like summer. Yeah, I hate it. This f*cking hot, humid weather needs to end NOW! We made the most of our last weekend of the summer with our annual trip to the CNE on Friday, with a crowd of friends. It wasn't unbearably lot, thank goodness, and the girls and their friends had a blast on the rides.  Saturday I had to work, and Sunday was errand day. Monday we took the girls berry/apple/pear picking but didn't last long due to the heat. I organized the house to prepare for the construction workers starting back up yesterday, while Adam took the girls for a swim in our neighbourhood pool.

Yesterday was the first day of school. Grade 2 and Grade 5. Yep, the girls are growing up.  We are fortunate that the girls don't have much anxiety about school, they are so much more confident than I ever was as a kid! But now, in the midst of our reno chaos, …

Live Clean

I have been committed to living a healthy life through nutrition and fitness for over 20 years now.

It took me a lot longer to pay attention to what I was cleaning the house with and what I was putting ON my body as opposed to IN it.

When I got pregnant with Big A I started reading about the toxins in a lot of commercial cleaning products and switched to the all-natural, eco-friendly stuff. When I became pregnant with Little A, I switched to all-natural, eco-friendly personal care products.

I am all for being environmentally friendly for the good of the planet, but to be honest, what really motivates me to make these types of changes is concern for my family's health.

You may remember I mentioned giving up my favorite perfume a while back because it apparently is full of nasty chemicals. I switched to the "Red Tea" scent made my Roots, which is supposed to be somewhat "natural". This was only after a number of trial and errors. I first found a woman in …

Panang Curry

When we go out for Thai food, one of my favorite things to order is the panang curry. But there is no doubt when this dish is made in a restaurant, it packs a hefty wallop of fat, sodium and calories.

My version is lightened up, but still rich and flavourful and it is super simple to make.

Traditionally, panang curry is made with either beef or chicken, but I made it vegetarian, using dried seiten (wheat gluten) I got at T&T a few weeks ago. If you are not sensitive to gluten, this is a great source of vegetarian protein. If you cannot find it dried, you can get it prepared at most health food stores. Alternatively, you can use tofu, or the more traditional chicken or beef options.

This dish also doesn't usually have much vegetable matter in it, but I love how yummy veggies taste when simmered in this sauce, and it makes this a healthy one-pot meal. Use whatever veggies you prefer or have on hand.

Protein of choice (2 cups seiten or 1 lb organic tofu, boneless skinless ch…