May 13-Adam Schweitzer

By May 16, 2015Birthright 2015
A Mosque the group visited in Akko

A Mosque the group visited in Akko

Tzfat – May 13 We began the day with breakfast and a 45 minute drive to the historic city of Tzfat. After getting off the bus, we began a steep climb downhill. The first thing I noticed was the overwhelming amount of blue everywhere: Gates, rails and fences all painted blue, adding the perfect accent to the sky, Israeli flags, and letters of business signs. Our first destination was the Tzfat Gallery of Mystical Art. We found ourselves on floor cushions around a seemingly elevated man named Avraham with a mystical beard of adversity in a room no bigger than a common kitchen. He started off telling us of Jewish Meditation, the book written by Aryeh Kaplan that first opened his mind. It was kind of funny how much I could relate to him – An American majoring in Psychology who wasn’t sure of what he wanted to do with his life besides be happy. He discussed his discovery of the Kabbalah – all the inner teachings of Judaism. He was like…So, so spiritual, you guys… His passion for the spirituality of Judaism was extremely admirable. Tzfat is one of the most spiritual places on Earth. This is apparently the place where the spiritual masters have been living for thousands of years. After purchasing 2 pieces of art from Avraham, we departed and hiked, and I mean hiked, up a painfully steep set of stairs, which began our descent through the city, visiting historical areas. From behind another blue gate, I heard children singing in unison. We pass a group of men who see our lovely women and whisper to each other, “Charlie’s angels?” I let out a big sigh at my choice to wear a thermal today. A conservative man passes us in robes and I immediately feel ashamed for complaining, so I step out of the shade and call us even. We walk down a narrow pathway to a little courtyard where another bearded fellow greets us with some wonderful music that he’s creating by tapping mallets to steel strings tied a hollow wooden instrument in the shape of a trapezoid. He and his partner are members of a group called Agadeta, and they serenade us with traditional Jewish songs. Doron, our tour guide, stops to give us one of his infamous historical lectures…Why are his shoes always untied? Afterward, we walked the market where I bought some postcards, fridge magnets, and a new necklace for myself (having worn the same one since middle school). Aylon helped haggle down my price by 40 shekels! I love that guy. I’ve come to the conclusion that Israelis are the best people on earth. We boarded the bus after purchasing some incredibly yummy lemonade for only 5 shekels. We headed for a picnic lunch in En Zetim, where we were served a nice lunch of vegetables and sandwiches. The wind was blowing cold air through the trees behind us and suddenly my thermal was the perfect choice. Dana asked if anybody on the bus had toilet paper and I informed her that pooping was not allowed on the bus. As if Moti didn’t hate us enough. After everyone had stuffed their faces, we began the trek to visit the mosque in Akko. First, we took a tour of the “Excavations of the Hospitaller Compound,” which is where the Crusaders came through. I went inside of a mosque for the first time! It was beautiful, and the experience was made even better by the prayer calls in the background and the men praying. I got an ice cream cone and we got on the bus to head to Tiberias. Tiberias was a land of many exotic foods, so naturally, I got pizza. The restaurant advertised free WiFi, but when I asked the waitress for password, she gave me a very blunt, “no.” As I’m very familiar with blunt rejection by women, I kind of accepted it. But the pizza was great! If I had a dollar for every time Doron said, “but that’s another story,” I would be both very rich and very informed of Israeli history. After finishing my pizza in a hurry, we boarded the bus and headed back to the kibbutz, where we all went to sleep immediately and lived happily ever after. 😉

Author Dan Leshem

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