We left Jerusalem a little later than planned because I was printing my father’s Christmas present (a personalized calendar for 2012 made up entirely of photos of the family on holiday in different parts of the world) and proceeded on a long long drive to kibbutz Kfar Menachem, where my mother had volunteered forty years ago. I was a little disappointed by the fact that we didn’t actually drive through the ultra-orthodox city of Beit Shemesh to get there. My parents refused to detour through the city; they said they’d seen enough in Me’a She’arim.
Kfar Menachem is sweet enough. We toured the kibbutz with a friend of my mother’s from her late teenage years and then met with another friend of hers for supper at a very very tasty Druze restaurant located beside (or as part of) a gas station. We stayed at a nearby kibbutz, where we felt that the lodging was over-priced, the cafeteria was hard to find, and the people were hardly friendly. This being his first experience of Israel outside of Jerusalem, my father was unimpressed. Continue reading