Israel Diary: What I Got On My Summer Vacation

It may not have been clear from this post or this one, but I’ve been on an extended vacation in Israel. It’s my first time here (along with everyone in my family except my oldest daughter) and it has been awesome, magnificent and transformative.

While I have a great deal to write about, both for this blog and the one dedicated to kosher food ideas, I am posting an “ending” thought near the beginning because it just won’t wait.

The idea is this: after a month in Israel, what am I bringing home? What did I get? What gifts did I find?

  • Spending time in various places for more than a day or a few hours. Having the chance to experience changes in weather, time of day, and people in the same surroundings.
  • Watching in awe as my 7 year old navigated the streets of the Old City with confident familiarity
  • Realizing that words like “Tzfat”, “Haifa” and “Tel Aviv” were no longer obscure names jammed onto a very small space on Google Maps, but now are associated in my mind in terms of distance from one another, city layout, and the people we met.
  • Listening to my 19 year old dress down three (uncharacteristically) pushy and impolite soldiers – in Hebrew – as they tried to shove in front of her little brothers to get on the bus to Beersheva
  • Becoming a familiar face to the people who live here.
  • Seeing my wife’s face when she first walked thought Machanei Yehudah.
  • Being able to think of more than a CNN headline when I hear words like “Islam”, “West Bank”, and “Arab Israeli”.

Having the ability to spend a month here is a blessing, even as I realize that it still doesn’t make me anything more than a tourist. I’m just happy that Israel is now somewhere I can think of as a place to RETURN to, rather than a place I might visit someday.