Archive for March, 2010

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Trip to Abu Ghosh

March 13, 2010

Agi and I walked to Abu Ghosh, one of the most ancient inhabited sites in Israel, about 5 kilometers away from the kibbutz, today.  Many Israelis like to visit the Arab town because the restaurants there are open on Shabbat, and many tourists come to visit the Crusader church.  Recently, it has been known for the Guinness Book record-breaking hummus, which was served in a satellite dish to hundreds.

To reach Abu Ghosh, we walked through a portion of the Israeli national trail, through some of the kibbutz’s vineyards, where the Thai workers were surprisingly working on this hot Shabbat day!  We reached Ein Rafa, made our way through the small Arab town with fairly large white stone homes, and then passed Ein Hemed National Park, which was closing when we got there.  Ein Hemed has a spring and stream running through it, and looked very inviting due to the extreme heat!  We also randomly saw a camel grazing near the entrance, very much out of its natural habitat.  After crossing the highway, we reached Abu Ghosh, which was crowded with cars.  We had a chance to visit the Crusader church before it closed, and enjoyed the beautiful gardens and dark crypt.

We walked around the town a bit more to look at the houses and shops, and then we ate hummus served with pita, meat and salads.  We were able to get a ride back to the kibbutz from a co-worker of Agi’s from the dining room, who lives in Abu Ghosh.  It was interesting to visit a place in Israel that was not predominately Jewish; I am glad that I now speak some Hebrew, because a lot of the residents do not speak English.  I hope to visit Ein Hemed before I return home- I now have less than 2 weeks left in the ulpan!

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Update

March 7, 2010

Purim was fun- the kibbutz had a party complete with a DJ and open bar; I dressed up as an Olympic coach.  This weekend I visited my cousin and his family again in Netanya.  It was nice to get away from the kibbutz and spend time with the kids.  I especially enjoyed the park where we went bike riding along the Alexander River.  The park was built only about fifteen years ago along the edges of orange groves, and by what used to be very polluted waters.  The Palestinian Authority and Israeli governmental agencies worked together to clean it up and build paths, playgrounds, and bridges with grassy areas for picnicking.  My favorite part was seeing the huge snapping turtles, catfish, and what appeared to be beavers in the water.

I decided to take today off from work, so I stopped in Tel Aviv for a few hours before going back to the kibbutz.  I had a nice brunch outside at a cafe, window shopped on the famed Sheinkin Street (a trendy area of the city), and enjoyed the sunshine.  My iPod headphones broke in the morning, so I decided to find some new ones…I entered a shop that was empty except for the shopkeeper, who was wearing thick glasses.  After standing in front of him for about 20 seconds and not being acknowledged, I asked, “efshar leshalem” (is it possible to pay?)  He had me repeat myself a few times, which I though was because of my American accent.  But when he finally understood me, he asked me how much I was giving him, and then I realized he had trouble seeing and hearing!  He reached into the cash register and kept bringing out coins, asking me how much he was giving me, and how much more I needed!  It was an interesting situation to be in; luckily I am an honest person, but I wonder how many people have taken advantage of the clerk’s disability?!

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הצלחתי

March 2, 2010

I passed to kita bet! Today was the oral exam in the ulpan and I passed- in fact I got the 2nd highest grade in the class! I am proud of myself that my language skills are recognized to be at the second level now 🙂