Israel at 70 AND Tel Aviv!

20 Apr

I’ve seen many a “tels” (hills/archeological site)over the past several weeks on the shvil, but nothing compares to seeing TEL Aviv! Over the past two days the shvil has taken us along the Yarkon River. The Yarkon starts at Tel Afek (north of Petach Tikva) heads past Rosh HaAyin and ultimately ends up flowing into the Mediterranean Sea. This morning we walked through Tel Aviv’s HaYarkon Park (which is kind of like the Central Park of Tel Aviv.) We dodged many a mountain bikers, runners, and motor bikes as we walked along our way. Around 1pm we arrived to the Tel Aviv port…6 weeks and we reached the Mediterranean!

For much of the trail last week as we approached Jerusalem it seemed like we passed more sites from biblical and rabbinic times as we made our way to Tel Aviv this week it certainly felt like we saw more sites from the 20th/21st century..really bringing to life along the shvil the feeling that Israel truly is an “Alt Neu Land.” (Old/New land.) We’ve walked past ancient wells and sky scrapers where people are working on cutting edge technology.

Yesterday was a highlight of my trip as it was Yom HaAtzmaut and the country was alive with celebration. As we walked along the Yarkon River hundreds of people were BBQing, partying, singing, and dancing. We were welcomed to join many a parties to which we did not say no. Since our food for the most part has been vegan I gladly enjoyed kebabs, chicken wings, and chicken skewers. We enjoyed a few l’chaims and when we arrived to our night camp there was a dj set up for a party so we danced the afternoon away.

Israel is no doubt a complicated place and its moment of independence is certainly no exception…this being said, I could not have been happier to celebrate this milestone birthday for Israel, a place that I love so dearly.

70 is a number that appears often in our tradition. 70 is the number of Jacob’s family members that travels down to Egypt together as one soul. 70 is also the number of nations that spread out after the Tower of Babel. Even in this number we have complexity…on the one hand it signifies unity and on the other it signifies disunity or separation. The number 70 also pops up in the book of Numbers when a group of 70 elders is elected to help Moses lead the people…so perhaps, being 70 is a good omen for Israel this year…a year of wisdom, leadership, and responsibility to its people.

Shabbat shalom from one of my most favorite cities in the world! Tel Aviv ya chabibi!

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