Tag Archives: Israel

Birthday Bliss

This past weekend I turned 36 (though if anyone asks me, I’m still 35!) 🙂

I was so blessed to have some wonderful moments:

A friend gave me a full-day at a spa up in Tiberias, right on the Sea of Galilee…. fantastic!

Cotton Candy on the Boardwalk 🙂

My annual picture with the T-Rex!

VIP Movie Night at Cinema City… I don’t think I can watch a movie in the “regular” section ever again! LOL

Dead Sea and Ein Gedi to top off the weekend! 

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My Israel

This morning on my bus I saw a beautiful thing….

A woman from Ghana and her 2 year old son got on the bus and sat down next to a group of soldiers.  The little boy was coughing and obviously a bit sick and the woman was doing the best she could to comfort him.

One of the soldiers asked her where she was from (in English, figuring she probably didn’t speak much Hebrew).  She told him Ghana and he began speaking to her and her son… asking questions like, how old are you, how long have you been here etc. You could tell he was really good with kids, and kept talking with the little boy, trying to get him to smile.

After a couple minutes he pulled out of his backpack a bag of chips and gave it to the boy.  It was obvious by the boy’s reaction that he was beyond thrilled!  He even offered a chip back to the soldier (which was the cutest thing).

As I sat on the other side of the isle, watching this entire interaction, I thought to myself, “This is the Israel I know.”

Not the Israel, who takes the blame for almost everything negative happening in this region from the media-bashing…

Not the Israel, which is made to look like anti-Palestine monsters…

Not the Israel, who groups love to protest, even though most of them have never actually have been here themselves…

But, My Israel.  The Israel I know and love.  The Israel where you see real people doing loving things each and every day.

The Israel where you see Soldiers giving refugee kids chips on the bus….

The Israel where you see Israeli Doctors giving new hearts to neighboring Arab children, who cannot receive help from their own countries….

The Israel that sends a medical rescue team to every natural disaster in the world….

The Israel that continues to send tons of food, water, and supplies into the very same region that sends missiles into their country daily….

You might never hear about My Israel in the news, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist…. because I see it each and every day!


Signs, signs, everywhere signs.

This past weekend I did something I haven’t done in FOREVER!  At 6pm on Saturday night a friend and I decided to take an impromptu road trip to…. well, we didn’t have a destination in mind…. to anywhere I guess.  We grabbed some essentials: Israel map, toilet paper, snacks, water, OFF spray, torch, etc. and hit the road!  We decided to head south and see where the roads would take us.

The concept began as a Night Road Trip, but turned into an ALL-Night one with a Morning tacked on as well.  We ended up traveling the entire south of Israel, down the west and back up the east.  We had an exhausting, yet fun night and it was something that I NEEDED so much!  Just getting out of the city and satisfying my road-bug craving made my ❤ sing.

I took lots of pics, but my favorites ended up being crazy signs you see along the roads of Israel.  Here are a few of my favorites, just in case you end up driving in my country anytime soon:

And finally, after a looooong night filled with signs, we headed back home to Tel Aviv, making a quick stop in Jerusalem:

THEN HEADED STRAIGHT TO BED!!!


Capturing Moments: South Tel Aviv Levinski Park, Sept. 2010

One of my favorite little kids who come to Monday Night Basketball Outreach… isn’t he just a cutie!?!


Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement and Bicycles

Tel Aviv. Not exactly the ‘holy city’ like Jerusalem and not exactly the quiet atmosphere of the Galilee…. but every city in all of Israel comes together for this day.

No public transportation. No personal vehicles allowed on any street.  No stores or businesses open…. nothing but a day of country-wide fasting…. and bike riding.

It’s traditional on Yom Kippur, because of the no-car rule, for everyone to ride their bicycles in the streets.  Here are a couple pics down on the beach road of good ol’ Tel Aviv.  I will admit it was kinda cool walking down the middle of the road with everyone else, not having to worry about traffic!


A True Meaning of Hospitality

Yesterday I went to the house of one of the refugee girls, who I am working with, to speak to her parents.  Her dad is Ethiopian and her mom is Eritrean.  I originally went to make plans as to what time I will pick up Rivkah each morning, but I ended up staying for much longer…

…They live in a TINY 2 room apartment, all 6 of them.  There are 4 children, all under the age of 10.  Rivkah is the 2nd oldest at 7. She has an older brother, 10 yrs old, a younger one, 4 yr. old and a 6 month old baby sister.  And they all live in that 2 room apartment.

One room consists of 2 beds and a couch with a couple plastic chairs while the other has 2 more beds, leading into the kitchen (which is technically the same room).  There is a ridiculously small bathroom, which they all must share. There is no art on the walls, no decorations brightening the place, and certainly no “extras” as we all tend to have in our lives. They are all ‘refugee status’, but haven’t been given work visas yet.  This is the main concern of her dad, as he cannot provide for his family.  Looking around, my heart is breaking, but I must remain positive for them all.  They are beyond poor, not even having diapers for the baby.

YET, the first thing Rivkah’s mom did when I entered her place was offer me coffee.  She barely has enough food in the house to feed her 4 children, but she is concerned about my well-being and me feeling welcomed.  At this point I was almost in tears, thinking about this gesture of hospitality.

As I left their humble abode, I will admit I felt ashamed, angry, and sad. Ashamed for all the times I complained about where I live, what I don’t have, and how difficult life can be. Angry at how society perceives the African Refugees in Israel and how they are treated on a daily basis. And Sad because of the situation, not only that they were in, but for the other 20,000+ families who were in the same boat.

What I walked away with yesterday was this: It doesn’t matter how much you have or don’t have.  It doesn’t matter how much money is in your pocket or in your bank account.  It’s not about what car you drive or the size of your house.

It’s all about how you treat others.  Years from now the details of their apartment will probably be forgotten, but I will never forget how I was treated and welcomed by them.

A lesson I need to constantly remind myself of….


To The Keep

I’m a huge Lord of the Rings Fan.  I remember reading The Hobbit way back in 8th grade for a book report, then continuing on to read the trilogy after.  The movies are great, and the books are even better….

Last weekend I felt like I was walking through a Lord of the Rings moment.  We took a road trip up to Mt. Hermon, the tallest mountain in Israel, to explore around Nimrod’s Fortress.  It’s like walking onto the movie set, without the set. The ancient, Middle Ages ruins are just amazing!  I can only imagine what they looked like back in the 13th Century, when it was constructed.

If you ever have the chance to visit Nimrod’s Fortress, I highly suggest it. Here’s a few pictures from the day: (the entire collection can be found on my travel photography website)


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