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My brief post from Katzrin told you almost nothing about my stay there, so let me see if I can tell the tale now. In two days (Sunday and Monday), we managed to briefly cover Teveriah, Meron, and Tzfat, as well as the Kineret (the Sea of Galilee). Unfortunately, we did not get to see as much of the Golan Heights as I would have liked since we were short on time, but there is always next time. :]

So we took a bus from the Central Station in Jerusalem to Teveriah on Sunday. The trip was about three hours long. I thought I would write a bit since I had so much time, but that proved to be quite difficult since the roads were bumpy and it was nearly impossible to write legibly. Instead, I dug my iPod out of my handbag and listened to some music for a while. I was also taking pictures and video clips of the sights we were passing by. The Israeli woman sitting next to me, realizing that I was a 'tourist' and was interested in seeing everything (unlike those who preferred to sleep on the bus), began pointing things out to me in Hebrew and explaining.

When we arrived in Teveriah, we were greeted by my father's cousin and his daughter, my second cousin. I remember my grandmother used to show me pictures of her when she was little. I probably still have some pictures of her from when she was a little child. But I have never actually seen her, so when she and her father came to meet us at the station, I completely did not recognize her. Also, I knew she was a few years younger than me, while the girl meeting me and giving me a hug at the station seemed just about my age and a few inches taller too. (In this case, I am probably one of those annoying people who say, "Oh, I remember when you were *this* little!")

We put all of our stuff in their car and they showed us around Teveriah a bit. We went to the kever of the Rambam together and got brachot from a man collecting tzedaka there.

There were some other places I would have liked to visit in Teveriah, but as I wrote before, things were rushed and we would need more time to do everything.

My father's cousin and his family (which includes his wife, my second cousins, and my great-aunt and her husband) live in Katzrin, in the Golan Heights, so the plan was to stay there for the night and then see Tzfat and Meron the next day. So we went there and saw the Kineret along the way, along with many other beautiful sights.

I got to spend some time with my second cousin, who is fourteen now, and mature beyond her years. We were talking about the differences between her school's system and the system in New York and about more general differences in our lives -- and there were quite a few. She told me about her neighborhood, the schools, the people, her friends, the surroundings. She casually mentioned that you can hear shualing (foxes) and zievim (wolves) howling at night.

Over the course of our visit, she and I spoke to each other in three different languages: Russian (mostly), Hebrew, and English. I wanted to practice my Hebrew, she wanted to practice her English, we were having difficulties communicating in both languages, so we just stuck to Russian.

And what really struck me is that despite all the differences in our lives, in our locations, in our languages, we could relate. We found things in common, things we shared despite the miles between us. Literature, television, movies, music. I looked at the CD rack in the living room and smiled because I listened to so many of the same artists and bands.

The next day, the five of us set off again -- this time to Meron, followed by Teveriah. In Meron, we only went to the kever of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

On the path along the way were a few stands with souvenirs, food, and other various things. There was one wide stand run by Breslov Chasidim, and it sold just about everything from kippot to paintings, jewelry, paprika, musical instruments, keychains, Tehillim, and other items. We stopped there for a bit, bought a few things, and chatted with the man standing there.

He talked with us in English and asked us where we're from. The usual game of Jewish geography.

"We're from New York."

"Where in NY?"


"Where in Brooklyn?"

And so on.

We asked him if he has been there, and he has that he has been to just about every place in New York. But when asked about Crown Heights, he replied that that is the only place where he has not been.

He told us that the profits from the stand go toward publishing a book based on the writings of Rav Nachman, or something like that. Once we spent a good deal of money there, an older man asked for our Jewish names and gave us all brachot.

A nice breeze picked up as we were walking back to the car, which was a pleasant relief.

Our next destination was Tzfat.

I am not sure if I even have enough words to describe Tzfat. We did not spend more than an hour and a half there (if even that), but it was enough to convince me that it was one of my favorite places in Israel. We went into a few art galleries and shops (which was more than my parents wanted to do), and I finally bought a Tzahal sweatshirt. The storeowners there were friendly and talkative, and the things I came across in the shops and the stands were interesting and unique.

I loved just walking down the cobbled path, looking at everything from a 19th century perspective, and seeing art, craft, creativity, beauty.

In one of the galleries we went into, I found some sculptures that caught my eye and really fascinated me. I later did a Google search on the artist, Nicky Imber. This is the sculpture that particularly interested me. I think it's brilliant. It's called "Praying Man."

Once again, I wished I could spend half a day in Tzfat, but then was not the time, so I reluctantly left.

We took the bus back to Jerusalem from Teveriah, and for those who want to know, we are getting used to the taxis here and are no longer being taken advantage of as before. A taxi driver offered to take us to Maalot Dafna for 50 shekel, which was an offer we would probably have blindly accepted during our first couple of days here. But not anymore. Sorry, man, we're not completely ignorant. We know by now that a ride from the Central Station to Maalot Dafna is worth around 30 shekel. So we managed to bargain with him to get the price down to 35 shekel. Hurray for us!

So that was our trip up to HaTzafon -- the North of Israel.

Today, we went to Yad Vashem, the Israel Museum, and Machane Yehuda. Look out for a post on that soon.

Oh, and I am making a list of places where I want to spend more time in the future, if I come back to Israel in the next couple of years. Two weeks is nowhere near enough time to do any of the places we went to justice. For example, I should have liked to stay in Katzrin a few more days and see more of the Golan Heights. I would also have liked to dedicate an entire day to wandering around Tzfat. Spending a few more hours in Machane Yehuda would also be nice. So I am putting together a list of both the places I want to return to and the places I did not even get to visit. Looking forward to finalizing those plans someday. :]

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at Tuesday, August 11, 2009 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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