This is my final post on Israel. While I am grateful to be home in the arms and love of my family, I can’t help but feel that I didn’t spend enough time in Israel. What an incredible place…. one that I hope to return to and share with my loved ones.
For this last post I want to share less “touristy” pictures. While I did enjoy some time as a “tourist”, what I truly love is unique experiences. I being who I am always look for “weird-weekends” moments and that is how I am gong to finish all of my posts on Israel.
The first thing that I would like to share I was not able to capture since I was not carrying my camera and my phone went dead. You will have to trust me that it happened and hopefully I can use my words and a random video to describe the event.
Wednesday night I had decided to skip dinner and go to bed early to try to catch up on my sleep. Before I went to bed I decided to take a small walk around the hotel area near the beach. I came across a crowd of orthodox Jews (or some kind of Jewish group… not sure) near a van with lights and large speakers. They brought out a torah and started playing music…and not the kind of music I expected to hear played by this type of group (I know nothing about them… so I should not have had preconceived judgements on the music they would play.) The music sounded like club music (Hebrew club music)… and they played it loud.
I can’t tell you how confused I became… especially as they brought out drums and several shofars and began pounding and blowing them ( banging the drums that is and blowing the shofars… which are really loud…I mean… really load … shofars are horns…an example is pictured above). As crazy as all of that sounds… it got much crazier as the dancing began and they started moving down the street. I tried to ask someone in the crowd what the heck was going on and I couldn’t find anyone that spoke English. An elderly lady said… “Torah”… and then said “Come”. I was hesitant to “come”… but as they moved down the street they started throwing candy. That made it an easy decision. I followed them down the road all the while picking up candy. I was given a brochure by someone that was dancing but it was in Hebrew so I still didn’t know what I was following.
At the very end of the walking, the group stopped and I think a prayer was offered followed by the horns.(I wished my faith would use horns after praying… it is awesome) They put the torah away and the music started back up. I guess they decided I should not just be a passive follower. I was “inducted” and forced to participate by two men who came and grabbed me. (not in a bad way… just pulling me into the middle of the group) I became part of a circle consisting of about 5 men all holding hands and dancing round and round. I remember thinking that this is one of the weirdest and coolest things I have done in Israel and being mad that my phone was dead. Their joy was so contagious (or there was something in the candy) and I could not stop laughing nor dancing. Next thing I notice was fireworks going off over our heads. (I hope fireworks and not just candy hallucinations) The music eventually stopped and I was hugged by over ten people all saying something to me in Hebrew and then touching my face (probably telling me that I needed dance lessons)… What an awesome experience… boy can this religious group party! I wished I had actual footage because you should all have been there. Crazy…
In an effort to help you understand better what I experienced, I searched you tube (started my search with “dancing Jews”) until l found something that was similar.
Here is a video.
I wonder if any of my readers can explain what I was involved with?… if so please leave a comment for me and the rest of the readers.
The next thing I want to share was an interesting experience we all shared while taking a short cut from the hotel to the freeway. I was not the driver so I can’t be held responsible for anything. (a small disclaimer…)
This is our rental car and you can see the consequence of our short cut… (It got much worse by the last day). The driver was a co-worker from Southern California, lets call him Chris to keep his identity safe. Chris was an excellent person to have along and he was always willing to put forth any effort so that all spare moments would be “thrilling”. He wanted to make sure we were living life to the fullest. This was evident in his driving and also the reason some other co-workers refused to ride in the car while he was driving.
Here is a map of the short cut. I am not sure that it was much shorter than taking the actual roads but it was obviously much more fun… and in the evening… well much more strange and uncomfortable. I renamed it “field of dreams” after the evening experience (another co-worker had to add the “if you build it they will come” comment but I want to keep this somewhat appropriate… so I wont say that)… but before I share that unappropriated experience I will share with you a video I filmed during a day time drive.
Here is a video of our drive… The first time I road with Chris before we took off he started singing the song that I chose for the background music. I think I should have realized from his singing that the drive was not going to be a normal “on your way to work” morning drive.
After experiencing the field of dreams during the day I was a tiny bit reluctant to put my life in the hands of Chris during the night. The 13 year old boy in me would not let me miss out on this off-roading opportunity… so in the back seat I climbed. Once on the dirt road I noticed immediately that in front of us was a strange and numerous grouping of cars. They were all circling randomly (not to be confused with the danse I mentioned earlier). I joked that it looked like we were in the middle of some odd automobile mating ritual. Chris said “Bingo”.
When we arrived in the heart of the grouping I noticed that this car dance was not an exclusive waltz for cars but a duet for people and cars. Those people being mainly female or at least females in disguise and they seemed to be the motivation for these swarming cars.
We were in the middle of some disgusting drive through dating service and Chris found it amusing to high beam the couples as they did their courtship dance all the while yelling challenges like “I am going to tell your wife”… and “you are going to get a disease”. I giggled in the back until he trapped a newly formed couple on a side road and kept the light on them until they decided that their love was not meant to be… after this I ducked down. I guess I am not as brave as I thought… especially as one of the manlier women opened the passenger door… I think I may have whimpered then.
I want to be serious for a second. I have described this in a tongue and cheek way but I was incredibly disturbed by what I saw. I do not want to judge any of the participants but there is definitely something missing in both participants lives. I can’t imagine the toll this takes on their individual lives as well as mental health. I honestly wished there was a way to reach out and help these people. (stop it… I mean reach out in an appropriate way… even if it is just to buy them some dresses that cover there underwear)
I worry that I have just made this spot a new must see destination… Please readers… don’t try this at home… stay in the tours… and stick to the historical sites.
Let’s move on to the third thing I want to share… I ate a new fruit. In my opinion there is nothing more exciting then eating a new thing for a first time. If I had my way we would heavily invest in space exploration just to discover new food.
A co-worker from Israel brought me some carambola from one of his trees. I know many of you may have already tasted these but I had not and was extremely excited to try them. I was not sure if I needed to peel them or just eat them as they are. I washed them and just ate and I really like them. I believe they have a lemon/apple taste… not to0 sour and not too sweet.
After the field of dreams this is a pretty boring addition but look at how awesome they become when cut up.
I think I will end this with a couple of picture from Jaffa… hmm back to the touristy stuff. We only had a couple of hours to spend there before our flight. Jaffa is the oldest (I think) part of Tel Aviv and an ancient port. I wished I could have seen this in the day.
Here are some pictures.
Thank you for taking the time to read all of this… I hope I offended no one with my “field of dream” talk.