Welcoming in 2012 in Israel and Palestine

After our devastatingly exciting New Year’s Eve (note the sarcasm) we woke up very early on New Year’s Day to start 2012 with a refreshing dip in the Dead Sea. Even though I have been living in Israel, only two hours from the Dead Sea, for 7 months, I hadn’t yet visited so my first dip into the salty water was as exciting as it was for my brother and father.

It was wonderful. I didn’t want to leave and only got out of the water when my parents insisted we do so. My brother and I spent the entire time giggling and trying different ways to turn in the water, executing complicated yoga poses and trying to swim despite the current. I was so tempted to go out a long way. However, it seems the water can be quite lethal and no one wanted to accompany me, so I did not. Continue reading

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New Year’s Eve, Israeli style

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┬áparents 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