The freedoms within (ask me about what I mean)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

'We'll only take you to the best places!"

The past two days consisted of sun, sun, and sun. Of course, I stayed the same color, sunscreen or not. Anyways...the dead sea was great with the Lavis. The place that we went to was the same place that birthright had brought me a few months earlier. Brought back memories of me being SO tired from the previous night of 'sleeping' in the desert, and then passing out on a bench at the dead sea from the sun. Good times.

SO, today was very fun. I returned to Shoham last night and was with Cochav family all day, and still am. We drove about an hour and a half, (since we got lost on the way) to a beautiful beach that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. I asked where we were going and Esti said to one of the most beautiful beaches in Israel, Reut followed with "We'll only take you to the best places." The sand was so white and powdery and the water was as clear as the Bahamas water. There were tiny fish everywhere. Of course, I brought my waterproof camera (that amazed EVERYBODY) and many pictures were taken in the ocean.

I love being around my family here. Everyone is so sweet, especially all my first cousins Esti, Ronit, Tami, Shy, and Beeni, They truly will all do anything for me.

Simchat Torah is tomorrow and I will be at Rabbi Bryks house for it. It'll be like a pre-NCSY reunion before he is basically my Dean.

Reut's Shabbat Kalah is also this weekend, so there will be many girls at her house, celebrating and also EATING! I love the food here.

Now, I'm off to a festival in Shoham with some famous Israeli singer and little kiosk's with shops. Time to spend my first shekels!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The adventure of a sandled American

Jet lag is still evident. I was awake till about 4:30 AM last night. At 8:45 Rotem came into my room to tell me to get ready. Luckily, my morning bird kicked in since I knew the day was going to be exciting.

I went with the Lavi family (minus Hadar) to some place near the dead sea that consisted of a sany and rocky hike to a long walk in a cold river. Of course, I didn't know that so I was wearing flip flops. Descending down the mountain forced me to concentrate on the floor and not the surronding dessert.

It was fun though, holding Lital and Rotems hand, laughing at our slipping on the rocks. Not to mention that there were so many people there because it is Chol Hamoed on sukkot, and all of Israel is off. Before we transitioned to the river part, we sat down to eat a prepared lunch by Ronit which was bread, eggs, humus, tuna, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and something spicy.

After eating, we made our way to the river part. It was so so refreshing to have my feet and calves covered by freezing water, midday, in the Israeli desert. A few times, my flip flop would get stuck in the mud on the floor and I would lift my foot up, without my shoe. It would float up to the surface and flow with the current and we would yell to the people behind us to catch it. Trust me, I wasn't the only one. We walked for about 2 hours and it came to an end.

Tomorrow, I was invited by the same family to go to to the dead sea. I cannot wait to rub mud all over my body, lay in the sun, have it crust up, and then proceed into the warm salt bath to remove it. My skin truly feels the most soft after this process.

Now for some much needed food (in the sukkah of course) and then some much needed sleep!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Artichoke stuffed meatballs, fried eggplant, soft white rice Oh My!

Friday night and Saturday, also known as the 25 hours of resting for the Jewish people, consists of family time, praying, resting, and food; really really really good food.

I spent shabbat in Modiin and stayed at Ronit and Dudis house. There kids are 3 girls Hadar, Rotem, and Lital and one boy Netanel. After finishing mine and my second cousins' new favorite game, UNO, I went to Beeni and Yisrael's home for shabbat dinner. I entered the amazing smelling humble home to be greeted by their kids; Yedidyah, the oddly blonde hair blue eyed newly 6 year old, Oriah, the beautifully black eyed brown hair tom boy, Binayah, the child that will smile and smile and smile, and Eliah, the newly born blue eyes black hair baby. We immediately sat in their sukkah and began to eat the amazing food that once again greeted my stomach.

Home made schnitzel
green beans covered in tomato sauce and sesame seeds
Sweet chicken
Meatballs that sat in the heart of artichokes and onions
soft white rice
and lastly: a pancake covered in parve chocolate and vanilla ice cream with chocolate drizzled over it; not to mention the sweet honeydew.

This was just the first meal of shabbat.

After the meal Suzie walked me back to Ronit and Dudi's house and I changed into comfortable clothes and continued to read the book i Started "The Red Tent." A few chapters later Ronit and Dudi sat down and I got some time to know them. it did not surprise me that they were as sweet and as smart as can be...just like every other person in the family.

I woke up Saturday morning around 12 o'clock (paradise) and awaited the return of the parents from shul. I continued to read and 20 minutes later they appeared eager for the shabbat lunch. Once again, their cooking skills blew my mind when I tasted the pasta with meat sauce and pesto and potato blintzes, and more and more and more. Everything was so so tasty and of course there was tons of leftovers...they told me any time I want they will give me some of their leftovers for my dorm... :D

After the meal I played Uno with the girls and then went to sleep for about an hour. I woke up and started to read once again...eventually finishing it (it was very good and recommend it certainly to women and any man that can handle woman power, ...and life cycles...)

Post Shabbat was a dairy dinner with mushroom pasta, bread and cheese, tuna salad, etc. Better then any deli... I am staying another night with the Lavi's since they invited me to go somewhere for a day trip...I'm excited to see this family outside of shabbat and in action.
Left to right Yedidyah, Rotem, Eliah, Me, and Lital

Coming early has certainly proved that my relationships with my Israeli family has been getting closer and closer as time passes....and it's only been a week...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Surviving the first holiday

I came to Israel a few weeks early before school so I can spend time with my family and actually celebrate the few Jewish holidays before school began. Sukkot has fallen upon us and I cannot tell you how good it felt to be in a Succah, decorated from pure love, with family again. Really brought back memories of when I was younger, and we would hang up the same decorations every year; without them ever getting old.

Before the holiday started I did one thing I wish I could avoid, but my eyes were so heavy that I slept for 5 hours. Maybe because the jet lag had kept me up till 5 AM the night before, and the light of the morning woke me up around 8, 9, and 12. So I slept from 1 till 5 PM, and woke up to ready myself for the first night of sukkot.

The first night was spent at Cochav house and the WHOLE family was there. The food of course was amazing which included home-made hummus, beet salad, Pasta with meat, spicy meat balls, white rice, goulash, and on and on. Of course, I ate as much as I could handle and then sat and observed the family as they all interacted nicely and with love. They played a trivia game with questions about the holiday and I was upset that I had forgotten most of the answers. I guess that's why I'm here right?

The second day we walked (in the DRY heat) all the way to Tami's house. Once again, the whole family was there. This meal consisted of home made tahini, fresh salads, Moussaka, potatoes, lamb with dates, mini (AMAZING) hamburgers, chicken, and more. For some reason though, I was barely able to eat....probably still full from the night before (or perhaps the amazing cheesecake I was fed for breakfast). Everyone ate and talked and laughed. I followed the children to the back yard where we played ping pong and watched Sapir pour water on the younger kids (who begged and begged for her to do it). Later into the day they played home made bingo and used small soup almonds (better known as crunchies) as the bingo pieces. Following that, the people who wanted to sleep, including me, went to sleep until night fell for havdalah. So here I am now post havdalah, and finally getting my technology cravings settled (since I am not yet used to giving them up for 2 days...)

Monday, September 20, 2010


I've made it to Germany! I sat in seat 41 A and luckily had a nice older Italian man next me. He works on Carnival cruise line as an engineer. He was on his way to Italy for his 6 or 8 month vacation. Anyways, I'm glad I invested in Tylenol PM because that was the EASIEST 9 and a half hour flight I've ever been on! I always wondered what it would be like if I fell asleep on most of the plan ride. Now I know, and it feels GREAT!

ADDITIONALLY, Lufthansa is actually the best airline ever; TVs on your seats, comfortable chairs, and the best part CUP HOLDERS! It's always so annoying having to have your tray down just fro your cup of water. Thumbs up to the German engineers!

Sitting at the window seat allowed me to finally see another country besides Israel. And one thing I noticed is that there seriously must be ONE architect in all of Munich since EVERY SINGLE house and building had white walls and red roofs. The sky was so beautifully blue with the rising sun making the lower skyline a bright yellow.

I met an Israeli women in the line from entering security named Iris. She's a sweet woman and that seems as if she has traveled the whole world by the way she speaks

Well I'm waiting for my flight to Tel Aviv now. I'm going to find some random food in the foodcourt that I havn't tried before. Definitely not the white sausage though :)


I arrived in Israel on time and safely. But one thing that brought back memories of this summer is when we were flying the sky was perfectly blue and the clouds were all separated into small white circles. What it truly truly resembled was jumping into the middle of the ocean with a scuba mask, looking down, and seeing many small jellyfish below me. One of those beautiful sights that a person can never forget....

Anyways, when i arrived five of my oldest second cousins: Reut, Sapir, Sagit, Or, and Matan all greeted me with an I love you ballon and one big cousin hug! I went to the mall with Reut, Sapir, Sagit, and Esti (their mother) and was so happy to see them being so sweet to each other. Complimenting what they tried on, holding each others hands, etc. It really is beautiful so see a truly happily functioning family.

I am going to paint Sapir's nails now with the Lakim (nail polish) we bought at the mall.

Day one

Today is the day I'm finally going to achieve what I have desired so badly in the past two years. I'm breaking out of my element and entering a new world, that will fill me up with many valuable life lessons and experiences. I am truly happy with my decision to go. No matter how many hardships it came with, I am following my heart, and isn't that what everyone says to do?

In a few hours I'll be flying into Munich where I hopefully will not get lost because the only German I know is Vi Gatez (whatever that means)! I'll then be flying into Tel Aviv being greeted by most amazing family oriented, beautiful cousins that I cannot wait to become so much closer with!

Here's to new experiences! Shalom!