Thursday, October 11, 2012


     Heading to class this week was tough after such a long break. I think the Jewish holidays are my new favorite part of the year. Israel becomes a different place during the holidays- most people are on vacation, and the pace of life slows down accordingly. My own vacation plans hit a few snags, but I was able to take a short trip to the Golan Heights. There's a national park there, Banias, which is renowned in Israel for its hiking trails and beautiful waterfalls. Speaking as a girl who lived in Oregon, the falls weren't that impressive. However, after living in the desert for the last few months, the sight of water was a welcome relief.

The river- look green! and water!

ah, that's better

getting closer to the falls

we're finally there!


We saw some other interesting things on our hike, like this...

don't stray off the path...

      It's easy for me to forget that Israel is a threatened place, with a long history of violence. The Golan Heights are a highly disputed territory, with Israel, Syria, and Jordan all claiming ownership. While things are safe there for now, land mines all over the region show its turbulent history. This is a perfect example of how life is in Israel. Everywhere you look, there are people going about their day surrounded by the remnants of more difficult times. It helps me understand the toughness that characterizes Israelis. After a lovely morning hiking to the falls, we had some extra time on our hands. So we decided to stop in Tiberias on our way home. How could we not, in such a pretty place.


     The water in the distance is the Kenneret (Sea of Galilee). So of course, we had to jump in. The water was lovely, and just the thing for a hot day. Feeling a little guilty for taking a trip without any historical stops, we headed over to a local synagogue to check out a 2000 year old mosaic floor. This section shows the zodiac, a symbol once widely used in Judaism, which has since been abandoned. Many people claimed that it had never been used, but this archaeological find proved them wrong. 

I can't wait to keep exploring this new country I call home. There's so much to see! Glad I'm here for three years, maybe I can at least scratch the surface.

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