Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Some updates

Finding time and internet access to blog is not easy here. The schedule at Hartman is very full.

We got here a week ago Tuesday and on Wednesday rented a car to head up north. Keleigh had been here once before about six years ago but her progam was based in Jerusalem the whole time so never got further north than Tel Aviv or further south than Masada.

We rented a Hyundai Getz which is a tinier car than any we are used to but still comfortable. If we get the same model at the end of our trip it will be a challenge to fit in all of our luggage. For our trip north we just packed overnight bags and left the rest at our Jerusalem hotel.

Highway driving in Israel is fine and the drivers on the highways are no worse than they are in Connecticut, frankly. There are new rest stop chains called Yellow and another whose name escapes me at the moment but it is a combination of an upscale 7-11 and a Starbucks. (Driving in Jerusalem is more scary as the streets are narrow, traffic patterns confusing and nobody yields for anyone.)

Northern Israel and the Golan Heights were beautiful. Wed. June 27 was Keleigh's birthday so I made us reservations at Decks, the nicest restaurant in Tiberias. It was right on the shores of the Sea of Galilee on a massive deck (in Israel it does not rain in the summer at all) and the atmosphere was marvelous. They specialize in grilled meat dishes and it is a monument to conspicuous consumption. I had told the restaurant when I called that it was Keleigh's birthday and they gave us a free dessert with sparklers on it, played "Happy Birthday" over the sound system and about 500 diners joined in. To quote Borat, "very nice!"

The next day we visited the digs at Bet Shean. It was extremely hot but a very impressive Roman city to see. When we got back to Jerusalem we decided to keep the car as it was not due until the next morning. We drove to the Mall -- the driving was a bit scary -- but had fun, especially since they have a Glatt kosher Kentucky Fried Chicken. Keleigh was in heaven, as you can imagine.

Learning at Hartman has been great but those of you who know me a bit better know that I like and need to process my learning before I write about it. I have re-connected with a lot of old friends including the rabbis who did our wedding and some classmates I have not seen in 20 years. I also met my predecessor in Norwich, Rabbi Alex Felch. What a lovely, lovely man!

I hope you are enjoying these updates. Tonight we are going to the opening of the Jerusalem Film Festival, we are going to see "Ratatouille" with 10,000 other people in the Sultan's Pool ampitheater beneath the walls of the old city. Should be fun!

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