Day 9

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Tzefat, Rosh Pina, Dalton Winery

Day Nine - Tuesday July 11th - - Yom Shlee-she

We started out the day with a walking tour of Tzefat. This city is a very mystical city (presumably since the city is so high and lies so close to Hashem) that lies about 3000 feet above sea level north of the Sea of Galilee. The city reminds me of the old city, very quaint with many beautiful facets to their architecture. Of course, everything here is built out of stone, just like Jerusalem. There are many arches, steps, alleyways, shops, etc. We first visited the Holy Ari Synagogue, a Sephardic synagogue. This is the temple at which Lecha Dodi was written. The rabbi of this temple, Rabbi Yitzchak Loria, would go down the mountain a bit to greet the Shabbos ďbrideĒ as we sing about in Lecha Dodi.

It was also here that they established the kabbalistic studies in the 16th century. Tzefat was destroyed in the great earthquake in the late 1830ís. We visited a second Sephardic synagogue which was also very beautiful. This particular synagogue had many torah scrolls on display, and a host of ancient written books of Talmudic nature.

Our walk through Tzefat was very nice. This town is a quaint town that reminds me of the Old City of Jerusalem, but it seems to be a bit better kept, and much cleaner. It also has the feel of a city with no dead ends, there always seems to be a way out, no matter which set of stairs you climb up!

A factoid that I learned: Ah-nis liqueur is the best thing to wash a shofar with, Ah-nis oil. I need to get some to keep my new shofar clean.

We took in a bit of shopping, we unfortunately didnít find anything that we wanted, or were willing to pay the price for. Then we went back to the hotel to change. We then took the bus down to Rosh Pina.

There are so many people who have gotten ill on this vacation. Mark, Louis, Mike, Leslie, Bob, Judy, Susan, Kathy, Angel and Bonnie. The rest of us, thankfully, have not gotten ill.

We went up to Mt. Cannan. Passed the monument of Shlomo ben Yosef. We stopped and everyone was on their own for lunch.  Amy Beth and I ate at a nice restaurant called Cafť Dali, and had a very enjoyable chicken and mushroom salad. We then continued on to Rosh Pina.

We walked up Rosh Pina, itís a tough climb, but enjoyable. We passed many bed and breakfasts on the way. This is a very popular internal to Israel for people to come and stay a couple of nights to get away to a pretty place. This place was not significant from a biblical perspective, but it was essentially the first outpost of the Zionist movement. It was a high hill that was settled by some of the first Jews to come and reclaim the land. They bought the land from some Arab emissaries and settled it in the late 1800ís. The setting is secular, not religious.

Thought: If you donít settle an area, then you canít hold it. All over Israel, many of these settlements and in fact, large cities, where established by simply settling on the land, and making it (the barren land) into something.  I never really thought of it in these terms before.  There are many unsettled areas of the United States, but it's still under ownership of the USA.  It's not like some other country or people can just come in and take over, just because it is currently unsettled.

Barron von Rothschild, a very wealthy man, donated the money to settle Rosh Pina. A garden in his name is standing today and was the backdrop to another of Gadiís historical discussions.

A factoid that I learned: Britain was given the Palestinian area as a part of a mandate from the League of Nations after WWI. France was given Syria. The border between Lebanon and Israel is the same 1923 border that was established by the league of nations. Palestine was the name that Britain gave the area as they assumed control. The Palestinian question involves many facets. The fight really began in 1948 when Israel became a state and won the War of Independence. After the war of 1967, the refugees were pushed back into Gaza and the West Bank.

We went to the Dalton Winery and taste tested some wine. Amy Beth and I bought a couple of bottles. One bottle, we will use on a special occasion, and another bottle we will give to Lo.

St. Nichandro from the village of Alma. He was a priest that felt that in 1948 there was a Messianic moment. So, he and many of his followers, about 50 families, decided to convert to Judaism and move to Israel. They settled the land now know as Alma.

Frances and Larry had purchased some wine and then shared their terrace (and their wine) with all of us. We had a wonderful wine party up on the terrace overlooking the valley and Mt. Meron during an absolutely gorgeous sunset. Gadi and Meyer (the driver) joined us, it was another great group event!

We went to dinner at a restaurant in Tzefat, that reminded me of the Ipanema grill where they fill you up with some middle eastern delicacies, and then begin to bring meat to your table. This mean bringing process doesnít stop until you are literally ready to get sick! The meal was great, and Gadi, got us a private table in the back of the restaurant. We all picked up Gadi and Meyerís (the bus driver) tab. We then strolled out onto the streets of Tzefat which was packed with people where were all there for the Klezmer festival. We sat up on a wall and watched a couple of bands perform, one that featured a shofar performance like I have never seen before. There were thousands of people everywhere, and the music was great. The final performance was a violinist who did an entire medley of Fiddler on the Roof.

Observation:  In Israel, they have bottled Coca Cola.  I haven't had Coke from a bottle in over 20 years, but as I remembered, it is sooooo good!  I wish they offered that in the USA.  Judy took full advantage of the situation and always had a bottled Coke on the go!

As per our usual, we stayed out as late as possible.  We then walked back to our hotel and called it another great day!

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