Twenty couples from the Valley are currently in Israel as part of Honeymoon Israel, a trip to Israel for couples that is being piloted in the Greater Phoenix Jewish Community by Valley Beit Midrash. Larry Hirsch, one of the participants, is sharing his experiences from the trip as a guest blogger. Here is his final post.
Our final night in Jerusalem was spent having Kabbalat Shabbat at a park overlooking the hills of Jerusalem with Rabbi Shmuly, planned guest Avraham Infeld and surprise guest Rabbi Jeremy Schnieder of Temple Kol Ami in Scottsdale.
This was followed by Shabbat dinner at the Dan Panorama Jerusalem and an hour with Avraham Infeld – who was, easily, the single best speaker I have ever heard on Judaism and Israel.
Now tracking backward, the last few days have included the following: touring the Machaneh Yehuda market in Jerusalem and then cooking lunch with a local chef; meeting Ketubah artist David Moss and creating our own works of art; Western Wall tunnels; Masada; floating and cocktails at the Dead Sea; a lecture by professor Reuven Hazan regarding the Israeli political system and the differences from American-style democracy; touring the Jewish Quarter of the Old City; visiting Yad Vashem; learning about the Druse people on Mount Carmel outside Haifa and eating Druse cuisine in a home overlooking the Haifa port and surroundings; visiting Majd al Krum, an Arab village in Israel and meeting with high school kids and families to get their views on being an Arab living within the Jewish State; exploring Tzfat and having a chance to meet with Kabbalah artist David Friedman; kayaking down the Jordan River; driving to the top of Mount Bental and looking down on the Syrian conflict; and dining in a mango orchard in the hills overlooking the Sea of Galilee. And by the way, there is a plenty that has been left off this list.
The trip has been an experience of a lifetime. It has been awesome and tiring and special and thought-provoking. It has been, as the slogan for Honeymoon Israel suggests, all about the journey.