January 18th, 2016

First day of school

I think it's day 4... I lost count...

Mom did a great write up today and she said I could use it. It's her notes plus mine:

Well, today was the Golan Heights and Galilee.

First, a case of misrepresentation, as it turns out that the so-called Sea of Galilee is actually the Fresh Water Lake of Galilee. Who knew?

We started with a boat ride of The Misnamed Body of Water, which was pleasant, but nothing earth-shattering. It was far more interesting to watch the fisherman haul in a huge load of fish with their seines and to learn that Israel gets most of their drinking water from the lake. We reached land, walked through the gift shop, and took a pass on seeing the boat that Jesus may or may not have used.

Next, we went to the Golan Heights, which was utterly fascinating. First, Uri recounted war stories, and then told some grimly humorous jokes about the remaining land mines, of which there are many.
Apparently, the cows that graze in the area can't read the warning signs, and so occasionally one steps on a mine and gets blown up. The people nearby rejoice, saying "Shawarma from the sky!"

We next went to Safed, billed as a mystical Kabbalah town, but actually an art colony, like Taos, New Mexico, with rip off falafel, likely so ridiculously overpriced because the falafel maker had lived for years in Soho, and saw us Noo Yawkers a mile away. Otherwise, a town well worth the visit, as much of the art is really very skillful. I bought my new bracelet too (see photo below)

We had a tour and lunch at a kibbutz, and this was the kibbutz experience I had been expecting. I learned that we're staying in a very religious kibbutz, and the one we were now visiting is very secular, privatized, and only about half Jewish, of the 500 residents. The guide was exactly the stereotype I had in mind: she looked like Bette Midler and was as funny and frank, leavening the dangers the residents face with humor. For example, she is in charge of all food, and remarked that raising the kibbutz's chickens has convinced her that chickens are the most stupid creatures on earth and thus deserve to be fricassee.

And then...

Because the skies were so overcast, we didn't go to the overlook; instead, we went to the Golan Heights Winery, a fascinating tour of the huge bottling center. We learned how Israeli technology has made it possible to measure and adjust the wine in the HUGE stainless steel tanks, resulting in consistently prize wining wine. Finally, an olive oil store, notable only for the opening infomercial about The Wonder that is Cosmetics Made from Olive Oil Byproducts.

Dinner soon, and then a lecture on this kibbutz.