13 Things (Yom Ha'atzmaut)

This year bloggers like Ima on (and off) the Bima, Rabbi Paul Kipnes, and JaneTheWriter celebrated Yom Ha’atzma’ut by listing out “13 things” they loved about Israel.

At 43, I’ve still never been there. I hope to get there someday. For now, it’s more important to my wife and I that we make sure our kids get there while they are young.

And don’t start with the whole “family vacation” deal. I’ve got four kids aged from 18 down to 6. Which means:

  • A) There’s not a friend on earth good enough to take all four without indebting myself beyond the value of the national GDP.
  • B) Taking everyone would cost roughly TWICE the current national GDP.

So in the meanwhile, I wanted to participate with my list of 13 things I can’t wait to see/experience in Israel. I’m basing these on what I’ve heard from others, from what my daughter has written about, and on the experiences of the students at my children’s school.

I welcome your feedback, or make your own list in the comments below.

  1. Hearing the language, everywhere. Sure, I can go places now and hear a lot of it (my boys’ school, the girls’ evening Hebrew program, etc) but there’s still the overwhelming sense that I’m in an English speaking environment. I am eager to experience true immersion into Hebrew.
  2. Tasting the food. Not only the freshness but also the authenticity.
  3. Actually meeting a real live camel. My daughter was less than thrilled with her camel rides as part of AFU and EIE, but I am still excited by the idea.
  4. Putting my hands on the Kotel
  5. “Weird” food habits – vegetables for breakfast and who knows what else they eat there.
  6. Experiencing a Shabbat where everything really does come to a rest
  7. The weather of the region. I want to get the dust in my mouth, to feel the sand kicking up from a wind off the sea to  sting my skin. I want to know what a rainstorm is like in a place like that. Maybe it’s the same as home, but I’m betting it’s not.
  8. I want to talk through totally normal suburban neighborhoods, and marvel at how different they are from my city. Or how alike. But most of all I want to know.
  9. Of course, I want to meet the people – from the taxi drivers to the mothers shouting “shovav” (you little devil) at their kids to the people selling falafel out of carts on the street.
  10. Floating in the Dead Sea. It’s totally touristy, but I’ve been enchanted with the whole concept since I learned about it when I was a kid.
  11. Going from place to place and realizing that my Tanakh can serve as a history book as well.
  12. Finally knowing whether I will touch the ground and feel a connection, or simply feel dirt. Either is possible and I’m OK with things whichever way it comes out. But NOT knowing is like having a puzzle completed except for a single missing piece that you keep looking for under the couch, hoping it will turn up.
  13. Most of all, I want to discover all those things which I don’t know exists yet, but when I find it I will know it SHOULD have been on this list!