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! 


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)


Obsession: Camels

Last week I had a mini-vacation to celebrate my birthday in Egypt.  It was the most amazing time, and once again I found myself on a camel…….

…….Since the first time I took a seat upon a camel, I fell in love, and since that day I have been riding them every chance I get. I joke about becoming a beduin, living in the desert, dwelling from place to place and riding a camel; but the truth is this:

If I could I would!

The problem lies in the absence of internet, electricity, and phone service.  I’m not quite ready to give up my connection to the rest of the world. Soooooo, until then, I will just continue to take advantage of every opportunity I have to ride my camels.


Holocaust Memorial Day

Today in Israel was Holocaust Memorial Day.  It began last night at sun-down, when everything closes for the night. There are memorials running on television and the city is quiet remembering those who lost their lives during the horrors of the Holocaust.

At 10:00 am, a 2 minute-siren rang throughout the entire country, where everyone literally drops everything to stand in honor. What I think is so amazing is that even if you are in your car, you must pull over and get out to stand.  It was a pretty amazing site. I felt honored to be a part of a wonderful tradition of honoring and remembering.

The truth is this:  The number of Holocaust survivors is rapidly dwindling, as they are becoming older and older.  Their stories, pictures, documents, and memories will soon be all we have.  Its so important for all of mankind to remember the atrocities that occurred in the past in order to prevent it from happening again.

Here is a tiny clip (even though its not from today) of what it looks like all over Israel….


TII #7: Shabat Shalom, Elvis.

My flat mate and I had a hilarious TII (This is Israel) moment this morning on the way to congregation. Since there are no busses running on Shabat, the only means of transportation are either cars or taxis.  I don’t have a car, hence the taxi is my only option. There are two types of taxis in IZ, sheruts (large van type taxis) or a regular taxi.  Sheruts are a fixed price and route per passenger, and this is what I usually take. BUT, because its Shabat, the sheruts cut down on numbers, making it difficult to find one.

66 is the sherut I can take all the way to congregation, but by the time it gets to me its almost always full.  I’ve seriously had to wait over an hour just to find one with a space.  This morning was no different.  We were not having luck getting a sherut.

Then, all of a sudden, after another full sherut passed us along came a taxi.  The driver saw that we were trying to catch a 66 so he stratigically place a 66 sign in his dashboard window.  GENIUS!  We were cracking up so hard.  And, he was only charging 1 more shekel more than the regular sherut.  We jumped in only to notice on the other side that it had a 51 (the other route of another sherut).  This guy really knows what he’s doing.

The driver was classic, I must say….  looked and sounded like Spicolli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High with black hair.  After he picked up another passenger a few meters down the road we were asked if we know Elvis.

Know Elvis? Who doesn’t know Elvis? Anyways…to make a long story short, our taxi driver was ALSO an Elvis Impersonator.  He whipped out photos of him in full costume to prove his claims (and the pictures were AWESOME!!) then put in his Elvis CD for our listening pleasure.

After much laughing and giggling from us in the backseat, we arrived at our destination.

Who would have known that we would encounter a taxi driver by day and Elvis by night…..and who says the king is dead?!?


Help-Portrait Tel Aviv

I am super excited about an excursion I am putting together for this Friday, 11.12.09.  It’s actually a world-wide outreach happening on 12.12, but since 12.12 is Shabbat here, I need to do it one day early.

Help-Portrait is a way to give back to the community via photo’s.  To make a long explanation short, photographers will be offering their services free of charge to those in need.  We will be creating portraits as keepsakes for families who might not be able to afford professional pictures at all.

How am I getting involved???? I have decided to put together Help-Portrait Tel Aviv for the Sudanese/Eritrean Refugees who I work with.  Most of them have NO pictures what-so-ever of themselves and their families… and this is an excellent opportunity to give them this gift for the holidays.  I have been recruiting like crazy: volunteers to help out on Friday to come and give of their time and services.  We will also be providing gifts for the children, cookies, coffee, tea etc. A time to let them know that we love them and value them.

How can you help???? I need your prayers on Friday!!! I have literally put this thing together in less than a week, and its starting to crunch down on me.  The weather is calling for rain, and that will just complicate it even more.  I want this to be a blessing to them, but also not a burden to us.

Take a look... Here is the promo video from Help-Portrait, giving a background on how this all started:

A few other links you might want to check out:

The official Help-Portrait Tel Aviv group website

The facebook event I created

Can’t wait to see some smiling faces!


Single during the Holidays

For me the most difficult time of the year to be single is during the Holidays.  Add on top of that my family and close friends living a million miles away, and it’s just downright depressing.  I want to remain positive and in high spirits, but the truth is sometimes its just hard to get through the day.  While everyone is putting up Christmas trees, decorating their houses, watching Christmas movies, and sipping on Egg Nog… I am over here in Anti-Christmas land just trying to catch a glimpse.

Yes, this is my calling and I gladly choose it…..but I just wish that he (my future husband) was here choosing it alongside me.  Its been almost 10 years on the field alone, and I’m beyond ready for a change.  There’s a Christmas song that Mariah Carey sings called, All I Want For Christmas Is You….. and its really, truly the one and only thing I want for Christmas this year.

I’m sending my Christmas list directly to Elohim this year, after all… Santa Claus doesn’t make stops in Israel (I think he knows where he’s not wanted).  I mean, come on!  This is the Holy Land, right?  Shouldn’t our Christmas list requests be top priority??? hehehehe


A Freak-out Thanksgiving!

I just wanted everyone to know that I’m freaking out a little on the inside about Thanksgiving this year (which we are celebrating on Fri. instead of Thurs… we don’t have Thurs. off here)

This is my 1st time EVER hosting and cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and I’m nervous.  Add to that my turkey-experience today, and I’m almost at full-blown freak-out mode.

We bought our turkey at the shuk (Israeli market), which does not normally sell whole turkey, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out we were able to get it.

The good news is that they DID de-feather and be-head him….the bad news is they did NOT do a good job.  After my bloody bus ride home, lugging him with me across the city, and leaving a blood trail on the floor, I put him in the sink to wash him off. This is when I noticed that the neck was indeed included in the deal (stuffed inside) and there were remnants of feathers all over.

AHHHH! Let the freak-out begin. My first Thanksgiving cooking, and I have to begin by pulling out feather pieces.  I will update you with pictures and details on how it went…. until then

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!


and the winner is……kosher (ummm, not so much)!

no-pig

I had originally wrote this post back in April of this year, when swine flu peeked its nasty head into the world.  Well, 7 months later, and I’m singing a new tune.  I guess I wrote a little hastely about the outbreak (now called H1N1), cuz here’s the thing:

I GOT IT 😦 (and its spreading through Israel, like the States too)

Yep.  I got hit by the little pig-snorting flu, and let me just say its not fun at all! Those pigs know how to take vengence on the human race.  I’m spending lots of time in bed, drinking lots of OJ and cough syrup, and feeling pretty miserable.

This isn’t over PIG!  I will survive you’re evil plan…..

(Here’s the original post:)

This is one good thing about living in Israel ……. I don’t think we will be seeing any of those Swine Flu Outbreaks over here.

(Finally, a good reason to eat kosher)

hehehehee.

…and that baby pig is way too cute to eat….doesn’t anyone remember the movie, Babe?

Update:  Oh no!  It looks like we have a case.  Someone came back from Mexico, but luckily he’s been detained and treated….whew!  We won’t stand for any type of flu that is NOT kosher!!! 🙂

Update #2: 2nd case in Kfar Saba has been confirmed.  Another man returning from Mexico, expected to make a full-recovery.  Why r Israeli’s going to Mexico???????

Update 3#: WE NOW HAVE A CONFIRMED CASE RIGHT HERE IN TEL AVIV! ISH!!!


A few random pics for some not-so-random friends…

My friend, Val, asked me if I have any pics with the view from my varanda.  I have two, which I took when the storm clouds were coming in for our first rain of the year a couple weeks ago. Keep in mind they’re from my phone, so not the best quality….

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and here I am, happy as can be with my coffee, sent by another dear friend, Joseph, a month ago.  Even though I’m not sippin on Holiday Latte’s, I’m still enjoying a bit of Starbucks flavor….

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and lastly, here is a picture from a shelf in my room, reminding me everyday about my darling African Intern, Rishelle, who bought me a Rhino Bush Baby before she left….

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