A Less Frenzied Report from Israel - Day One
Mar 11, 2008
|After taking about a half hour to upload the photos I want to share with you and, considering the cost of online time from here, I'll tell you all about the first day . . . and will get as much online as possible from here. Whatever I don't get to will be finished when we get back. Fair nuff???
Our plane took off around 3:00 on Sunday, March 9th. It was a direct flight to Tel Aviv on El Al and I think you could say that Bill (it was his first trip to Israel!) was just a tad bit excited.
Because we were flying with 40 other people from our Synagogue, it was just a tad bit of a party atmosphere.
We landed at around 2:30 in the afternoon Tel Aviv time on Monday, March 10th.
You'd think we'd be EXHAUSTED after that flight but, amazingly, we were ready to roll!! And don't think for a moment that we slept on the plane. Bill did manage to nap a bit but I was wide awake for the entire flight. We had things to see and places to go.
After a night of very little sleep (excitement? exhaustion?), we headed out for our first big adventure.
Our first stop was at the Museum of the Diaspora where I was in for a huge surprise.
The museum is all about how the Jews have been dispersed throughout the world since the destruction of the Second Temple. Not only were there exhibits of Jewish life throughout the centuries in various parts of the world, but there were also portraits and photos of prominent Jews throughout the world. Imagine my shock when I saw a photo of one of my mother's ancestors!!
I can't wait to get home to begin my research of this lady and her husband.
The museum contained actual segments of Synagogues from throughout the world.
This ceiling is from one of the oldest known wooden Synagogues in Poland. It was built in the mid-17th Century at Chodorov, near Lvov. It was decorated by Israel ben Mordecai Lisnicki of Jaryczow.
Our next stop on day one was Caesarea, one of Israel's most important cities during the Roman Empire. The crusader city was built 900 years ago.
Our first stop in Caesarea was the amphitheatre
. There were several other tour groups there at the same time and everyone sorta sat in different areas so we could each hear our own tour guides. Now, remember, the leader of our tour was our beloved Cantor, Ron Li-Paz. Ron said he was going to demonstrate the wonderful acoustics of the amphitheatre by singing a song that is traditionally sung there (sorry, but I can't remember the name of the song). Anyway, he started singing and you could have heard a pin drop! Everyone became absolutely silent. In fact, there was one woman clear across the amphitheatre who kept talking and everyone in the entire place went "shush!!!" When Ron finished singing, everyone broke into thunderous applause. I can only upload very short video clips to this website so here's all you get.
Here's a link to Ron's entire song on youtube:
I don't think you can actually click on the link here but you CAN copy and paste it into your browser. Do it! Listening to Ron sing is ALWAYS worth the effort! Kinda makes you wanna join Valley Outreach Synagogue, doesn't it? To say that our congregation loves Ron is a major understatement!!
One of the more fascinating things I saw in Caesarea were the starting blocks for the chariot races at the Hippodrome
. They were all set in a straight line. Pity the poor charioteer who had the outside lane!
Our exhausted group made a quick stop at the Tishbi Winery in Zichron Yaacov for lunch
and then on to spend the night at Maagon Holiday Village, a kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee. Wanna hear a coincidence??? That's the kibbutz where David spent some time when he was in Israel 18 years ago!!
Well, that's the report for now. Although this entry is about the first day of our tour, March 11th, I'm actually writing it on the LAST day of our tour. I MIGHT get back online later but at this very moment I have to run down to the hotel lobby for a sendoff for the members of our tour who are heading home. Today was actually the last day of the main part of the trip and tomorrow starts my family visits. More later!