A Reminder of Why I Like Living in Israel

IMG_4831[1]Today has been a reminder of why I love living in this crazy country, despite the political idiocy I blogged about a few days ago.

History, scenery, diversity, food, weather.


We went on a short tiyul (day trip) today to Tel Goded to admire the wildflowers. It’s a beautiful spring day, perfect hiking weather.

Our first stop was at the ruins of a Byzantine era house at the Khan ruins that had a beautiful mosaic, which is left covered with dirt for protection.  If you want to see it, you have to brush the dirt off (they have a broom there to facilitate) and you cover it up after you’ve admired it.  We also sprinkled some water on it to make it easier to see.beautiful spring day, perfect weather for a hike.  

From there we went to Tel Goded, near Beit Guvrin.  There are Judean and Roman era ruins here, as well as caves that were networked as part of the Bar Kochba hideouts during the 2nd century revolt against Rome.  Devorah and I explored one of the caves.  I guess I make a bad role model: we ignored the big signs that said in Hebrew “It is forbidden and dangerous to go into the caves.”  Just too darn tempting…

Byzantine Mosaic


The wildflowers and scenery were beautiful.  On the way back we stopped at a brewpub, Abeer Haela (click the link and read up on them, cool story and cool place; the owner/brewmaster was also the cook today).  The restaurant is not kosher, but we found stuff we could eat to hold us over until we got home, such as vegan onion soup in a bread bowl that was quite tasty. Excellent beer as well.

After getting home I hopped on the motorcycle to go to the bakery to buy bread — and took the long way, making a loop around the Old City of Jerusalem.  Leaving Jewish West Jerusalem to dodge traffic in Arab East Jerusalem.  The 500 year old walls built by Suleiman the Magnificent on my right, signs of shops in Arabic on my left, passing by a 1,900 year old section of the wall built by Hadrian.

And in a little while I’m going to go on run, which will bring me past more scenery and history, including a view of Herodion, where King Herod was buried 2,000 years ago.

This is a really cool and amazing place.  Now if only we could figure out how to get along with out neighbors.  It would help if we had political leaders who weren’t either corrupt or narcissistic.

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Barry Leff

Rabbi Barry (Baruch) Leff is a dual Israeli-American business executive, teacher, speaker and writer who divides his time between Israel and the US.

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