Slicha, Bevakasha - Amazing Journeys
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Slicha, Bevakasha

Jun 3, 2013

If you thought New Yorkers were tough, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve been to Israel. One of the first phrases we learned in Hebrew was “slicha, bevakasha”, or “excuse me, please”. So anywhere we went, we were saying “slicha, slicha, slicha”. It’s hard to move around without bumping into people… Israel is a wonderfully crowded place.


We squeezed our ways past people, cars, and bikes as we went on our food tasting tour in Tel Aviv. We wiggled our way into the Western Wall, passing all of the orthodox who came from near and far to pray. We even ventured to the shuk (market) in Jerusalem on Shabbat! Yes, on Shabbat. What are we, crazy? All of Jerusalem goes to the shuk to shop for their challah, fish, and vegetables for Shabbat, not to mention their chalvah, wine, dried fruits, and more, oy! I think all of Jerusalem was there at the same time! So we “slicha-ed” our way through the shuk, going from stall to stall for our “Shuk Bites” where we tried everything from cheese and burekas to ice cream and fruity drinks. It was definitely an experience!

Unexpectedly, most of the group decided that our visit up north to the Golan Heights was the favorite part of our trip. Why you ask? It was so relaaaaaxing! We stayed at a wonderful kibbutz. A kibbutz? “So you woke up at 4am and picked oranges?” No no, don’t be silly, it was a beautiful kibbutz with a lot of smaller buildings on their luscious, green property. Meals there were plentiful and delicious, the rooms were lovely and best of all, we had an AJ exclusive party!

The Golan Heights were amazing! We went on a jeep ride through the fields and right next to the Syrian border where we saw IDF Reservists who had just been called into action. We saw the former borders and how the land had been transformed since becoming part of Israel. We went rafting on the River Jordan and enjoyed the beautiful greenery as we floated down. Okay, it’s more like a lazy river with some tree obstacles. One of our highlights? We were lucky enough to have dinner with some current IDF soldiers! These are 18 and 19 year olds who are in Intelligence, protecting the Jewish homeland. That dinner was so special; it brought Israel close to home. We imagined our friends, our nieces, nephews and our children in their shoes and we quickly understood how amazingly brave and mature these teenagers are.

Overall, our Golan Heights experience was life-changing. It’s a different way of life, different from the “slicha, bevakashas” that we did in the big cities. Don’t get me wrong, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are “must-sees” on any trip to Israel and there is so much to do. Part of traveling is getting to know the people and culture through small interactions. But there was just something special about the relaxing nature of the Golan Heights. Being so close to Syria and Lebanon yet feeling safe, peaceful, and relaxed is an amazing feeling. Israel has that effect – you know it’s a political hot-spot, but you feel safe, like you belong.

So “slicha” if I’m coming off too forward, but if you haven’t been to Israel yet, you must go. And while you’re there, “slicha” your way through the cities and then up to the Golan Heights. “Beavkasha”. You’ll be glad you did.

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