Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Blast From the Past: Part II

The REAL March of the Penguins

  • It wasn’t long before we set out on another crazy adventure.

    From The REAL March of the Penguins

  • After a lovely night at Josh’s Aunt Shirley’s in Haifa, Josh, Danielle, and I, made our way to Tzfat. We were looking forward to spending the day there, but most things were closed, because of the Torah Parade. Every Lag Ba’Omer, for the last 170 years, they march a 500-year-old Torah through the streets of Tzfat to Har Meron. For more background information on Lag Ba’Omer, follow this link.

  • The trip was worth it though, because once again, Josh saved the day, when his friend Rafi, from Lafa Rafi (on Rehov Yerushalayim) provided us with his leftovers, which became our Shabbat meals. When you go to Tzfat, you must visit Rafi, he makes a GREAT shwarma!

  • Next, we headed to Har Meron. As we stepped off the bus, we were swept into a sea of black and white. I had imagined we were going for a nice camping trip on the mountainside; but, apparently we were attending the largest Hareidi convention…and I forgot my 18th century garb from Poland! Families with ten kids or more were lugging suitcases up the mountain and pitching tents anywhere possible. I would have never expected any of these people to sleep outside. This was the antithesis of a camping experience.

  • We found some prime real estate and setup camp. Our small lot had flat ground, padded by crushed high grasses and we enjoyed a vista of the entire mountain. We made alliances with our neighbors, prepared ourselves, watched the sunset, and welcomed Shabbat. After some minyan hopping, we ate dinner, enjoyed each other’s company, and got to bed pretty early.

  • There was a ton of free food (not the healthiest of choices: kugel yerushalmi, challah, rugalach, humus, babaganoush, and more) ALL SHABBAT. When asked who sponsored all the meals, the Chabad guy serving replied: “Rashbi [Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai – the founder of Kabbalah, who is buried on Har Meron] provides!"

  • On Shabbat, we escaped the crowds and took a nice hike around the mountains. This was probably the best part of the experience.

  • Motzei Shabbat, when the real festivities begin, as the music is pumped to a max and droves of people swarm the mountain, we were supposed to watch another sacrifice. But, unfortunately, the keves got stuck in traffic and would not arrive until the morning. It was at that point that we decided we had enough and headed home on the next bus to Jerusalem.

  • Factoid: There were an estimated 280,000 people on Har Meron over Lag Ba’Omer…that’s more people than can fit in the largest stadium in the world (Rungrado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea)!

And now back to real life.

Up next… Jacob’s Ladder Music Festival, Yom Ha’Student concert with Ehud Banai and Ivri Lieder, and then off to Istanbul…

Until next time,



Q: Is this guy a Texas rancher or Jewish history professor at Hebrew University?

From A TWELVE HOUR Field Trip

A: Good try! The hat, gun with leather holster, full denim wardrobe, cane, and boots, would have thrown me off as well. But, in fact, this picture was taken today on our field trip. He is Dr. Rafi Josphe, guiding us in Tzipori.

Shoutout to Danielle Schindler (again), who consistently travels with only boys and puts up with our antics, just to have a good time!

P.S. If you’ve made it this far in the series of posts, I’m assuming you don’t want to read much more. But, I will pass on one article that I think is important to read. As I have been saying for quite a while, the solution to our garbage problem is clean energy…. Read more here. The U.S. needs to jump on the bandwagon ASAP.


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