Rachel organized a small vacation for us in the Galil this weekend. We stayed at the tzimmer (B&B) Ohr Hashachar in Moshav Goren, which is in the Western Galil very close to the Lebanon border. This place costs a bit more than your typical SPNI field school, but it comes with wine and cookies, a jacuzzi for two, free cable TV, privacy, and quiet.
What it did not come with is breakfast or any other meal. We brought our own food for the weekend.
Stopped at Caesarea beach on the way up. I already knew, but let me tell you so that you know: the beach at 12:30 pm on a hot August day in Israel is no fun for sane people. While Rachel frolicked, I found an umbrella at a nearby wedding hall and sat there until security kicked me out.
I needed a minyan to say kaddish, and there is one at Goren. It is Sepharadic, however, which means a siddur with the prayers ordered very differently than how I am used to, as well as continuous chanting in an accented slur, so that I couldn't figure out what prayer they were saying, anyway. Somehow I managed to say kaddish at about the right times, but my kaddish is missing a number of words and phrases that their kaddish has, so I had to keep readjusting my timing to match the other kaddish-sayers. I was tenth man for the minyan on Sunday morning.
Saturday we walked around the forested Park Goren, with a view of Montfort Castle. The experience was occasionally interrupted by people riding dune buggies (they make the engines loud on those things on purpose), but otherwise pleasant. And all while managing to stay within 2000 amot of Goren.
Sunday we visited Kibbutz Hanita, which was Rachel's first home in Israel 24 years ago. She learned Hebrew there for six months and then moved to Jerusalem, and she hadn't been back since she left it. Hanita is right on the border with Lebanon. Hanita, like many other kibbutzim is on the verge of losing its identity as a kibbutz: members now own their own homes and cars, and pretty soon they'll simply be stockholders in the kibbutz industries (contact lenses and plastic coatings, as well as some agriculture).
Hanita's main interest to outsiders is its tower and stockade museum. It holds stories and artifacts about the founding of Hanita and other kibbutzim like it, as well as movies with astoundingly well-preserved video from the time (pre-state). Most impressive is a) how egalitarian we Israelis are and were, with women and men pitching in to do the hard labor, b) how much work so many people put in to the founding of this country, while today we (well, at least me) are a bunch of whiners, and c) how violent and unaccepting the Arabs were then and still are today about this new country that formed in their midst - all the land upon which Hanita was founded was legally purchased, but that didn't seem to matter.
Oops. Forgot to warn you about politics.