We began the morning running ten minutes early, so we had time to head through the hills of Zichron Yakov, where Yael is from. She showed us her home, the park she plays with her nephews in, her favorite shoe store, the main square in her town and of course the synagogue. Zichron is a mix of people, it sounds like a blending of old and new, Jew and non-Jew, the kind of place where you are forced to be a part of the world. As we head down from Zichron, we pass the German Factory that makes gas masks, the irony here is obvious and we acknowledge it. We head to Atlit, a detention camp that was originally used by the British to detain Jews immigrating to Israel (before 1948) and later taken over by Israelis to house prisoners’ of war. It’s a reminder of the struggles and maybe it should be a sombering place, but to me its an inspiring place. Its inspiring that people wanted to come to Israel that much, that they believed and still do in this place so much. Heading out from Atlit we hear about the white book and the tension within the Israeli population during WW2 over fighting the British, to be allowed to immigrate to Israel and joining the British to fight the Germans. The history here is so palpable, everywhere there is the fusion, this juxtaposition of old and new.
We head to Acre, one of the few cities here with a large Jewish and Muslim population. We see the Bay of Haifa, the Templar’s fortress that the city used to protect itself during the Crusader period, we eat a delicious lunch of chicken shwarma and falafel and climb through the Templar tunnel. The drivers here are crazy. They don’t stop to let you cross and they park as they feel. I wonder what driving here would be like, I’d imagine nerve wracking. Then we drive to the Rosh Hanikra cliffs and take the cable cars down to the grottos. There is a storm raging so we don’t get that far into the grottos, but we do go out of the ledge above the water. The waves crash and about half the group gets soaked. Our guide Raz tells us this is the worst he’s ever seen the caves. We board the bus, gathering dry clothes to change into and begin the drive to our hotel, by the Sea of Galile, Kibbutz Nof Ginosar. So the first day ends and I’m wondering how it possible to feel so connected to a place your parents aren’t from and you’ve only been in for a day.
P.S. Mom I’m getting lots of compliments on the shoes.