Tuesday, January 5, 2010

X-Mass, New Year’s, and More

In the days between my trip and New Year’s I was in Maastricht, Bruxelles, Antwerp, Bruges, Gilo, Efrat, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. It’s been crazy, but a lot of fun!


  • After a very powerful and draining class trip through Jerusalem, some settlements, and the West Bank, I set out on another adventure…

  • I went with my friend Adli (as well as Bengo and Masha) to his home in Ramallah. His family was very nice, extremely hospitable, and a pleasure to meet. Thanks for having us and serving a delicious meal!
  • Then, the four of us ventured to Bethlehem for X-Mass Eve. It was very crowded, but it definitely was not your typical American movie Christmas scene. There were no carols, snow, or Santas. But, Manger Square, the area in front of the Church of the Nativity, was filled with visitors, most of whom I do not think were Christian.

  • Bethlehem was very well organized in terms of crowd control and traffic. I was very impressed by the number of Palestinian Security Forces around. There was literally an officer, in full (S.W.A.T.) gear every few meters.

  • I eventually met up with Mike Schwartz and Jeremy Seltzer. We walked back to the border crossing along the wall and ended up leading a “parade” of people who were also looking for the exit. Thanks, Mike, for your accommodations that night.

  • I then spent a spectacular Shabbat with Josh Ackerman, his apartment, and many visiting friends in Jtown. (I think I’m beginning to appreciate Jerusalem again!) Josh, thank you for your hospitality.

  • And, to conclude my two week journey, while I was loading my bag below the bus to return to Ketura, the driver nearly killed me by closing the door on me…then, he blamed me. Welcome back to Israel!

New Year’s Eve:

  • There’s no better way to spend this evening than going on a six-hour hike under the full moon with a partial eclipse. And, that we did, thanks to Rabbi Michael and Alison.

  • The New Year was actually brought in at the pub…and then I went to sleep.

  • I owe a double thanks to Evyatar for picking me up at the airport at 12:30 A.M. and coming to visit last Shabbat. As always, we had a great time!

Finally, I am happy to announce that, THANKS TO YOU, AdventureAdi has been very successful since its launch in August ’09. Here are some stats:

  • 3,000 Pageviews
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  • Over 500 Visitors

I don’t know who’s reading this stuff, but keep up the good work! Toda Raba!



  • Isn’t it strange that Israel is one of the only countries to call New Year’s Eve by the name of a very anti-Semetic Pope: Sylvester?!

  • I don’t know if it is global warming, but I REALLY love wearing shorts and a t-shirt on a daily basis in JANUARY!

Shoutout # 1: REMEMEBR…time has not run out…you can still get a shoutout if you join as a follower or comment on the AdventureAdi…

Shoutout # 2: Gabey Baby Seed, thanks for coming down to visit today/yesterday. I had a great time!

P.S. Nice review, if you're interested: Top green stories of the ‘00s


AJJ EuroTrip: Wrap Up

I apologize it has taken me so long to write this. I have been very busy since I returned. Nevertheless, I think the pictures (below) tell most of the story, so I will just use this post to clarify where we were and Befuddle a bit…

Where Were We:

  • Maastricht, Netherlands
  • Bruxelles, Belgium (snowed in…no Milan)
  • Antwerp, Belgium
  • Bruges, Belgium

Belgium Befuddlements

  • Does Israel know something that the rest of the world does not? When I went through security, I kept my shoes on and I didn’t have to chug my Nalgene. Meanwhile, they have one of the best security records. Share the secrets…

  • I think I have a skewed view of life, having lived in NYC and grown up in the Tri-State area. Apparently, the rest of the world functions according to the sun! If it doesn’t rise until 9:30, they’re not at work ‘till 10. Although this isn’t very helpful if you arrive in Bruxelles at 6:30 A.M., we can definitely learn something here.

  • Yes…I actually slept like a homeless person in Bruxelles Central Station on Saturday night, because we missed the last shuttle to the airport. It was a humbling experience.

  • We have new Greek friends…The camaraderie between travelers who were stuck in Belgium, screwed by the weather this week was truly amazing!

  • People are very trusting here. We met Esra on the train and then she came out with us. She’s AWESOME, but what was she thinking?

  • This place would not work with moochers. There are way too many opportunities to cheat the honor system…oh the welfare state!

  • As I mentioned earlier, it seems that Belgium does not believe in indoor heating. Our hotel had a bathroom heater for the entire room, and you can just forget about being warm in a public building.

  • As Jason likes to remind us, unless something changes soon, many believe that, “Europe will just be a big museum one day.”

There’s a lot more I could share, but I think that’s enough for right now. I had a phenomenal time on this trip! Although I believe Europe is BEAUTIFUL and would like to continue my travels there, I am eager to head to the developing world. A lot of Europe seems the same to me and I believe you can get a much better feel for unique cultures and ways of living in Africa as well as South America. I hope I will have the opportunity in the future to continue my adventures near and far.

Until next time…


P.S. Best of all…my whole trip cost under $550!

P.P.S. I think I'm guilty, even though I truly believe in CARPE DIEM!...Maybe Tomorrow - The Psychology Behind Putting Off What Can Be Enjoyed Now